Verse of the Day

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Sunday next before Easter, commonly called Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday
The name Palm Sunday comes from the palm leaves, along with clothing and other honors strewn along Jesus’ path as He came in to Jerusalem the first day of the week before His crucifixion.  Of interest, only Jesus knew of the upcoming crucifixion, every one else, including Jews, Romans and the Christians, thought he was making a triumphant entrance in to the city to take control of things and kick the Roman occupation force out. The moon was almost full, this was the year of the Messiah according to Daniel.  Jesus chose the route into the city, through the King’s Gate.  The people saw Him coming and met him at the Mount of Olives.  They expected Him to come in and proclaim His rule.  And that He did, but not in the way the people were looking for.     Those who thought of Him as Lord looked for a Kingdom of this World to be established. Sunday was a day of triumph and fulfilled the anticipation of the Jews of a day for which they had waited four centuries.  The Messiah had finally come, at the time predicted by scripture.  They were certain that He would free them from the burdensome and cruel yoke of Roman rule.  The Jews would finally be on top of the power pyramid.  They would rule the world under Him!  Yet, that was not to be.  The day in the temple!  Holy Cow!  Here their savior was throwing people out of the temple, not throwing the Romans out of Jerusalem.  They were sad to learn He came not to rule this world, for that time was not yet come; He came to give them the key to eternal salvation.  He came to take them from this veil of tears to a state of perfect freedom.  They wanted someone to throw the Romans out and all God sent them was the key to eternal life.  What a disappointment!

The Propers for today are found on Page 134-137, with the Collect first:

The Sunday next before Easter, commonly called
Palm Sunday.
The Collect.

LMIGHTY and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our LordAmen.

¶ This Collect is to be said every day, after the Collect appointed for the day, until Good Friday.

Dru Arnold read the Epistle for today, which came from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, starting at the Fifth Verse of the Second Chapter.

Paul reminds us that if Christ, the Son of God, was obedient to God, we should so be.  Also, as a result of that obedience, God hath given Jesus the name to which all of earth should bow.

et this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This morning’s Gospel comes from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, starting at the First Verse of the Twenty-Seventh Chapter and tells the story of Jesus’ trial, crucifixion and death.  The Gospel was read by in parts, with Hap as the Reader, Jack as Jesus and Judas, Ryan as Pontius Pilate, Dru as Mrs. Pilate.  We all read the Crowd part together.

The normally powerful Gospel seems even more powerful when read as a play, so to speak.  The crowd’s part is very hard to read as it reminds us of our dark side.  If you did not make it to church today, please find someone to read this with in parts.  It is an uncomfortable experience that you nonetheless should not miss.

Gospel of Saint Matthew
starting at the First Verse of the Twenty-Seventh Chapter

Reader: The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew: When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying,
Judas: I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.
Reader: And they said,
Crowd: What is that to us? see thou to that.
Reader: And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said,
Crowd: It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
Reader: And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me. And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying,
Pilate: Art thou the King of the Jews?
Reader: And Jesus said unto him,
Jesus: Thou sayest.
Reader: And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him,
Pilate: Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
Reader: And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them,
Pilate: Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
Reader: For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying,
Pilate’s Wife: Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
Reader:  But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them,
Pilate: Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you?
Reader: They said,
Crowd: Barabbas.
Reader: Pilate saith unto them,
Pilate: What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?
Reader: They all say unto him,
Crowd: Let him be crucified.
Reader: And the governor said,
Pilate: Why, what evil hath he done?
Reader: But they cried out the more, saying,
Crowd: Let him be crucified.
Reader: When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying,
Pilate: I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
Reader: Then answered all the people, and said,
Crowd: His blood be on us, and on our children.
Reader: Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying,
Crowd: Hail, King of the Jews!
Reader: And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying,
Crowd: Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
Reader: Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,
Crowd: He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
Reader: The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying,
Jesus: Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?
Reader: that is to say,
Jesus: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Reader: Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said,
Crowd: This man calleth for Elias.
Reader: And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said,
Crowd: Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
Reader: Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
Moment of Silence
Reader: And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying,
Crowd: Truly this was the Son of God.

Please read this out loud.

Having read this, do you see yourself in the crowd?  The crowd were not a random group of bad Jews, the crowd is us.  There is a little or more of the crowd in each of us.  Uncomfortable?  Yes.  But, sadly very real.  Yet, if we realize this, we can act to make ourselves less of the crowd and more of the Christ.  For in us each is the crowd and the crown.  We chose, each of us, which it will be, crowd or crown.  One simple letter of difference, yet the gap between the two is bridged only by Christ.

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. 

 Consider these words from the Collect:

… thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection…

In the Collect, we acknowledge that God sent His Son to be our Savior.  We ask His Help that we might follow the example Jesus set of humility and patience, both rare qualities in us, that we might be part of the resurrection. The resurrection itself sets a pattern that we should follow. We must first die, that is to stop our sinning, then rise again, that is to live, with humility and patience like the example that Jesus set for us. We must resurrect our lives and transform it into something new. There was a reason why Easter was set in the spring time. Not only was it close to the actual time of His death and rising again, but it came at a time where the flowers bloomed anew, having been dead in winter, as Christ had been dead, and rose again, just as those flowers bloom again.

Jesus set the standard of obedience to God’s will and He expects us to follow Him.  It is a hard thing to do.  We want to be in charge, we want to do what we want!  It is hard to do what God wants.  We just plain don’t want to do what we need to do, what we must do.  It is hard!  But, do you think your path is harder than that set forth for Him as laid out in the Gospel for today? And in the end, the path we must follow will still be easier than if we refuse to follow Him and try and forge our own path. We will be far happier if we follow his example and lead a righteous and steadfast life, full of grace and humility, as well as patience.

Think about that before you do what you want to do.  Is what you want in line with what God wants?  Think about the answer.  If you let the Holy Ghost in to your heart you will know the answer, you will know what you are supposed to do.  You may not like it, but you will know it. Which is more comforting than the World’s way, which seems to go off in every which direction, and they are never certain about anything. However, we can be certain about what we know, what believe and we can translate that certainty into our actions.

Jesus knew what was coming, how much it would hurt both His Body and Soul as He went through with the crucifixion and subsequent decent in to Hell.   Yet, He also knew this was God’s Will that we might live.  If He did this for you, how can you not follow Him wherever His Will takes you? If He was willing to do that for all of us, then how can we not repay Him to the best of our ability? His Sacrifice demands that we repay Him to the best of our ability, by the sheer nature of it, his perfection being offered in place of our imperfection.

By the way, the Chief Priests, who had so much invested in their 613 laws, likely searched far and wide for the crowd to convict Jesus of the crimes they found against their system.  Their system, not God’s.  Remember, there are none so blind as those who will not see.  They would not see because what was being shown to them was a new way that would interfere with their comfortable way of living.  A new way that asked for them, no demanded of them, accountability unto God for their actions.  While that crowd was no self-forming group naturally set on condemning Jesus, but a handpicked gang.  At the same time, many of those in the crowd who condemned Him the morning of Good Friday were in the crowd that welcomed Him to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  What a difference five days can make.

Make no mistake, we are that crowd.  And, like Pilate, no matter what we say, we cannot wash our hands of the responsibility.  Thus, we must separate ourselves from the crowd.  Separate, that is to make ourselves holy, set aside.

When the time comes, how will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

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 Humiliation of Christ
Psalm 22:1-17, Isaiah 53, Mark 15:25-37
Palm Sunday
March 23, 2013
It is difficult for us to imagine how humiliating it was for Christ to become a human being. He who was God "became flesh and dwelt among us," says John 1:1, and Isaiah 53:3 says He was a "man of sorrows."  It is important to know Jesus was not only a man outwardly, He was also a man inwardly. "He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham," says Hebrews 2:16.  So, when Christ came to earth He became a real man.  He never stopped being God, but He participated fully in the human condition as a human being, with no special exemptions or privileges.  In fact, He was a "man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."  He bled when He scraped His knee as a child.  He cried when He hurt.  He got hungry and tired and sick, and lonely.  He knew what it was to live by faith. He knew what it was to be betrayed by a "friend." He was tempted, just like the rest of us, and He died, just like the rest of us.  Wherefore the Scriptures say, "in all things it behooved Him to be made like His brethren" (Hebrews 2:17).  He was a man.

Part of the humiliation of Christ was that, even though He became a true man, He didn't "fit in" with the rest of us.  He was always different.  He was a man out of place.  Isaiah calls Him "a root out of dry ground," a beautiful, lush, green tree growing in a waterless, barren desert, and we are the desert.  There was no one here like Him.  He was truly alone, even among the crowds.  The was no one who understood Him, no one to be His confidant or help.  Even Mary and Joseph were always His inferiors, nor were they able to instruct or comfort Him.  He was perfect goodness.  He did not fit the pattern of fallen humanity, did not join others in their sin.  He always stood apart from them, different, odd.  And no one could help Him or share His burden.  Even those closest to Him slept while He prayed in Gethsemane, and deserted Him when He was arrested and murdered.  "He was despised and rejected of men... he was despised and we esteemed him not: (Is. 53:3).

Yes, He was murdered.  It was the civil authorities who executed Him, and the ecclesiastical authorities who incited them to do it.  But though it was an act of Church and state, it was murder.  Isaiah says He was "brought as a lamb to the slaughter" (53:7), and "cut off" from the land of the living (53:8).  This, His crucifixion and death, was part of His humiliation.  There He hung on the cross, beaten and nailed to it, to be mocked while His life slowly drained away.  He was killed by His enemies, and they were gloating.  Save yourself.  Prove that you are the Messiah.  Let God save Him, they taunted as He writhed in unbearable pain.  Imagine yourself in His place, then you may be able to imagine His humiliation.

The really surprising thing about all of this was that it was God's will for Him to suffer.  It was God's will for Him to die.  In fact, it was so deeply and fully ordained by God it can truly be said, God did it.  Look at Isaiah 53:10; "it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; he hath put him to grief."  Look again at Isaiah 53:4, "we did esteem him smitten of God, and afflicted."  It wasn't the nails or the spear that killed Jesus.  It was God.  God smote Him on the cross.  God bruised Him and put Him to grief, because He bore the wrath of God in His flesh on the cross. And this was humiliating for Christ.  He who was of purer eyes than to behold sin was forced to bear the sins of the world.  He who was absolute goodness was forced to become as one who was absolute evil.  He was even forsaken by the Father.

Then, He died.  "It is finished." He cried.  "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit."  Jesus, Son of God, Emmanuel, God in the flesh, the One in whom is life, died.  His body went into the tomb.  His spirit went into the place of the dead.  He died.  This is the penalty for sin.  "Thou shalt surely die."  "The wages of sin is death."  Jesus suffered the wage, the death of sin. He made His grave with the wicked, despised and rejected by men and forsaken by God.  There is no greater humiliation.

But He didn't have to do it.  That's the amazing thing.  He did it by His own choice, and He did it for us.  He was wounded for our transgressions.  He "hath borne  our griefs and carried our sorrows."  He suffered the penalty of our sins.  He died in our places.  He suffered all that humiliation and pain for you, because He loved you. Do you love Him?

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.

Sermon for Sunday next before Easter,
commonly called Palm Sunday

In Saint Paul’s first letter to the people of Corinth, he wrote, For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent... hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (I Corinthians 1:18-20) And our Lord offered the following prayer: I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes (St. Matthew 11:25). Examine also the words of the apostle Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthian church wherein he wrote, But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (4:3-4).

The Bible tells us that the gospel has been hidden from the worldly and profane. In the Book of Daniel we read ... and none of the wicked shall understand (12:10b). Now such a state of mind has not deterred them from forming an attachment to our Lord. But they have not done so for the purpose of their salvation. No, there is a far more sinister purpose involved on their part. And so, it should not surprise us that the unregenerate have claimed membership within the body of Christ because through their false profession, they have introduced an assortment of false teachings such as the notion that all who are “good” regardless of their faith in Christ will be accepted of God at the last. But that assumption does not measure up to God’s standard. The Scripture states very clearly, that all must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as that one way to salvation. And that, my friends, is a huge stumbling block for the unregenerate as they have not been born again of the Holy Ghost and are in fact dead in the eyes of the Godhead.

Consider the words of St. Paul who wrote, For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (I Corinthians 15:22); And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye walked according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh... and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others (Ephesians 2:1-3) which goes hand in hand with our Lord’s admonition: ... if you love me, keep my commandments (St. John 14:15). Those who are merely Christian in their own minds possess no capacity to do works that are pleasing to God because they do not have the Spirit of God within them. As the apostle Paul noted, 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. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Romans 8:8-9).

I hear from time to time the nonsense that, “God loves everyone and will not cast any good person into Hell.” A sound biblical response would be, “Then what was the need for God to offer up his only begotten Son on that rude cross?” Jesus Christ came to save sinners, not those who consider themselves good apart from his atoning work. The reference to an unbeliever as being “good” is nowhere found within the pages of the Holy Bible; and even our Lord said that there is none good, save one, that is, God (St. Luke 18:19). Thus, the notion that a profane person may be thought of as “good” falls to pieces when viewed through the lens of Scripture because such is based on a subjective appraisal which the profane and the unregenerate will apply to themselves and their associates.

As born-again believers in Jesus Christ, we recognize that only God sets the standards for morality. When we say something is good, we say so based not upon our understanding but upon the word of God. Hell is full of those who did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25)— who viewed themselves as being righteous, good and holy by their own efforts (Revelation 3:17). We may safely refer to such behavior as the way of Cain and is so-called because Cain— and others like him— rejected God’s standards and set them aside for those of his own choosing (St. Jude 3-19).

The wise, the prudent, the scribe, the Pharisee, the Sadducee, and the Herodian are all fit examples of those who would use their knowledge and wisdom to further themselves rather than to advance the word of God. Our Lord harshly rebuked those who lived in the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum as they had failed to embrace him based upon his mighty works. While they were willing to accept his gifts, they were not willing to accept them as the sign that he was, and remains, God’s Messiah, the Saviour foretold by the prophets (St. Matthew 11:20-24).

Today, the wise are found within the body of Christ as seminary doctors, bishops, priests, deacons or lay people. And like those of Lord’s earthly ministry, they too are his enemies through their rejection of him as the Christ, the only begotten of the Father. They have also rejected his gospel of salvation because they are enamored with “another Jesus”— which is Antichrist— and “another gospel”— which is the false gospel of perdition (see Galatians 1:6-9). They will not tell their congregations the truth about our Lord because to do so would run counter to their ecumenical predilections. Satan has been quite successful in his use of ecumenism to lure the unsuspecting into his fold. His agents employ words like “compromise” or “dialogue” which have the appearance of wisdom, piety and open-mindedness. As the Rev. Douglas Wilson once observed, “Christians who ‘dialogue’ with those of other faiths are using their faith as a branch upon which to perch lightly while they survey and appreciate all the other options...governed by this approach, Christianity is a prospective; it is not truth.”

Satan has never missed an opportunity to deceive humanity, especially when there is a chance of upsetting the faith of those who have been regenerated in Christ Jesus. In more recent times, Satan has employed the unequal yoke of ecumenical associations as a weapon of mass deception. Through this seemingly harmless enterprise, he has won over many weak or carnal Christians by convincing them through his agents within the mainline churches that it is God’s will for them to “compromise” and “dialogue” with those outside the body of Christ apart from a sound Christian witness. But compromise by its nature will require at least one party to give up something in the supposed hope of gaining something else. And what are the usual and expected items to be sacrificed by Christians in any compromise with the infidel? In every case they are the tenets of sound Christian doctrine. The Devil desires “compromise” and “dialogue” because he wants to replace the unity of all under our Lord Jesus Christ with a unity of all under his rule and authority (see II Corinthians 6:14-18 and Revelation 13:1-18). Eventually, all who reject the one true Christ of Scripture will worship the Dragon and the Beast (Revelation 13:1-7).

Folks, biblical doctrines matter, for it is through them that we have our relationship with the Godhead and our fellowship as Christians. Sound biblical doctrines have been paid for not only in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, but in the blood of countless Christian martyrs who stood up for the truth of God’s word in the face of all sorts of persecutions. If we have any understanding of the truth of Jesus Christ, we ought to be filled with thanks to God for the sacrifice of those who went before us in the faith. In that light, should we not exercise great care in preserving what has been handed down to us? Should we not resist the Devil and his pernicious followers who are merely wolves in sheep’s clothing peddling their false gospel of inclusion (St. Matthew 7:15)?


It is important for each of us as born-again believers to resist the temptation to follow after those whose earthly credentials have given them a figment of godly wisdom, but whose hearts are the same as those of the scribes and Pharisees of our Lord’s day. Just as those evil men hid behind their monikers of piety and religion, so do their contemporaries within the Christian Church. The modernists are ashamed of the risen Lord whose name they bear because his true nature does not fit within their ecumenical understanding of the Saviour. We must ever be watchful of them and reject their offers of “compromise” and “dialogue” when they come round. Their master will send them to us and so we must be ready at all times, having donned our spiritual armor. We need to know what is in our bibles and not what is in the latest book by “Rev./Mr. or Ms. So-in-So.” We need to keep our hearts focused on the truth of God’s word written and not on the pronouncements of “Bishop This-or-That.” We need to hear the truth of God’s word from a believing minister and not sit Sunday after Sunday in a church where God’s word is twisted and tortured by “Rev./Pastor Mr. or Ms. Such-in-Such” who would not know the living Christ if he suddenly appeared before him (or her).

It is my hope that you who have received this message will seek to develop a lively faith in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord. That you will devote time out of your day to Bible study and prayer. That you will seek to live in obedience to God’s will as found within the pages of Scripture. Further, if you have not found a Bible-believing church, that you will do so and soon. “Tomorrow is promised to no one” as the old saying goes. Our Lord could return at any time. And, in light of that, I admonish you to be ready so that you are not caught unawares. Avoid the web of lies that has been spun by Satan’s wise men and scribes. Keep to God’s word written and steer clear of all who will not follow it.

And may the God of Peace bless and keep you all in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Let us pray,

lmighty and most merciful Father, who has given the free gift of salvation to all who believe on thine only begotten Son; keep us from all deception, and give us hearts to resist until the end; so that at the last, we need not be ashamed to stand before thy Son and give an account of our lives in thy service; for this we ask in the name of thy Son our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+

Rev Rick Reid of Saint Peter’s Palm Sunday Sermon
We are happy to have a sermon from Reverend Rick Reid, minister of Saint Peter’s, whose congregation co-located with the Worldwide Headquarters of the Anglican Orthodox Church.  Rev Rick has all the resources and challenges right at hand.  This sermon is not in the usual expository style common to the Sunday Report and the AOC, but I think you will enjoy it.

Palm Sunday

This morning I ask you the question: Are you willing to trust in God?  Are you willing take up your cross and follow him, all to Calvary?

This means being willing to die in order to follow Jesus. This is called “dying to self.” It’s a call to absolute surrender. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Him will save it.

During this Lenten Season, we have all been on a journey, the journey we are all taking leads to Jerusalem. But we are not alone we are taking our journey with Jesus.

In our Lenten Journey we have paused each Sunday and we have recalled an event in the ministry of Jesus. Each of these events has pointed us to the Eternal Truth.

On the first Sunday of Lent we read of Jesus being tempted in the desert. Our old enemy appears again. The same temptations which drove Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden are again presented to Jesus, but unlike Adam, He does not fail.  Our ancient enemy is defeated in this battle, but we are told he will return at a more opportune time.

On the Second Sunday we are reminded through the Syro-phoenician Woman that God's Grace is available not only to the children or Jews, but to all who believe.

Those who beg the crumbs from His table will be filled, and will receive more than they can desire or imagine. Ironically, many Jews will lose their salvation because they rejected Christ, and many Gentiles will find salvation because they recognize Him as the Messiah,and accept Him as their Lord and Savior. The Salvation of God is for all who believe.

Our Lenten Journey continued on to the Third Sunday in Lent when we recall the first time the identity of Jesus is questioned. He is casting out demons and they wonder who He is and by what power He does these things. I s He a demon, is He possessed, or is Jesus the willing accomplice of the prince of the demons?  He proclaims to us it is by God's Grace that He works, and to do the will of God, is His work.

The Fourth Sunday of Lent finds God doing what God has always done, providing for His people. We remember the feeding of the 5,000, and again we ponder the generosity of God. Jesus bears witness to the Love of God as He takes, blesses and breaks the bread so that all may have enough to eat. And not only enough, but food left over, so that even those not present may be cared for and loved through this more than symbolic meal.

Likwwise, during the Last Supper Jesus took the bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to his disciples. The benefit of this bread was not just for his disciples on one evening,but for uncountable millions who have received the Body and Blood of Christ down through the ages.

It is a meal that sustains our faith.  In faith we understand Jesus died on the cross, and His blood was shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins. When we receive Holy Communion, it is an action that both confirms and confesses our faith.

We move on to the Fifth Sunday in Lent. This Sunday has been traditionally called Passion Sunday. On this day St. John records Jesus told the Jews: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.”  Jesus’ enemies understood exactly what he meant by his words, “before Abraham was, I AM.”

 In other words, Jesus is telling these Jews that his position or rank in the kingdom of God is greater than that of their father Abraham. Once he said this, the Jews took up stones to stone him to death.

Yes, on Passion Sunday we see one of the reasons, that his enemies wanted him dead, and why they were unrelenting in pursuit of his execution.
The Jews try to stone him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
And now here we are at Palm Sunday. Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem accompanied by his disciples,
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt, while crowds of people covered the streets ahead of him with their cloaks and with palm branches, shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed is He comes in the name of the Lord”
This was in fulfillment of the prophecy foretold by Zechariah, which states:
9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
They will begin the week proclaiming Him as Messiah and end the week by crucifying Him.

The story of His work here on earth is almost finished; but what about ours?

It is not question of whether we have completed our work, there will be much to do before we see heaven. The question is: are we ready now to throw ourselves on his Divine Mercy and accept perhaps for the first time, the reality of what He has done for us on the cross? Will we walk with Him to Jerusalem, to the cross and the grave?  Will we trust only in the Lord and allow Jesus to die for us, that we may live for Him?

Speaking of questions, what is Holy Week?  Some kind of Roman thing?
Not Roman at all, Christian.  In fact, the Romans have abandoned or ignored much of the week.  The term covers Palm Sunday through Easter.

The Sunday next before Easter is commonly referred to as Palm Sunday.  The period between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday is often referred to as Holy Week.  Most churchgoing people go to church on Palm Sunday, then to church on Easter Sunday. It’s a fairly uplifting time with not a lot of thinking. On Palm Sunday Jesus makes his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. On Easter Sunday there’s the joyous resurrection. What’s not to like about that?

The thing is, there is a tremendous amount that goes on between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, not all of it joyous, in fact most of it is pretty scary or sad.   The beginning of the week was wonderful; in the end the week was even more wonderful.  In between was a series of ups and downs the ups a little high and the downs very very deep. It is important to remember as you go through Holy Week that Jesus was in control of all the events of the week.  The week starts with the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and ends with the death of the Savior on the Cross and the burial of his body in the tomb.  It is a week of ups and downs without parallel, the ups a little high and the downs very, very deep, deep as Hell you might say, and precedes the most joyous day of the year, the Day of the Resurrection or Easter Sunday.

Jesus has a triumphant entry into the city on the First Day of the Week (Sunday); on Thursday night he celebrates the Passover with his disciples in the Upper Room, he prays and agonizes over what he knows is coming in the garden of Gethsemane; Judas betrays him early Friday morning, his most trusted disciple denies him, not once but three times before the cock crew; the Jews condemn him to Pilate who in turn orders him to be beaten and humiliated; that does not satisfy the Jews and at their request, Pilate condemns a man he knows to be innocent to a horrible death to pacify the crowd of Jews assembled by the priests; Jesus is crucified, asks John to take care of his mother and gives up the ghost; his body is taken down and buried; the disciples are dispersed and discouraged; they have listened to their Lord, but not understood.

Think of this week from the disciples’ perspective, on the first day they enter with their leader into Jerusalem in triumph; mid-week they celebrate the joyous feast of the Passover, then their leader is betrayed, defends himself not and is killed.  At the time they surely could not think of this as a Holy Week and certainly not a Good Friday.  Yet on the first day of the week that follows, our Lord is Risen, Risen indeed and delivers the promise of salvation in person.

It is important to remember as you go through Holy Week that Jesus was in control of all the events of the week.

What a week!

Palm Sunday
The name Palm Sunday comes from the palm leaves, along with clothing and other honors strewn along Jesus’ path as He came in to Jerusalem the first day of the week before His crucifixion.  Of interest, only Jesus knew of the upcoming crucifixion, every one else, including Jews, Romans and the Christians, thought he was making a triumphant entrance in to the city to take control of things and kick the Roman occupation force out. The moon was almost full, this was the year of the Messiah according to Daniel.  Jesus chose the route into the city, through the King’s Gate.  The people saw Him coming and met him at the Mount of Olives.  They expected Him to come in and proclaim His rule.  And that He did, but not in the way the people were looking for.     Those who thought of Him as Lord looked for a Kingdom of this World to be established. Sunday was a day of triumph and fulfilled the anticipation of the Jews of a day for which they had waited four centuries.  The Messiah had finally come, at the time predicted by scripture.  They were certain that He would free them from the burdensome and cruel yoke of Roman rule.  The Jews would finally be on top of the power pyramid.  They would rule the world under Him!  Yet, that was not to be.  The day in the temple!  Holy Cow!  Here their savior was throwing people out of the temple, not throwing the Romans out of Jerusalem.  They were sad to learn He came not to rule this world, for that time was not yet come; He came to give them the key to eternal salvation.  He came to take them from this veil of tears to a state of perfect freedom.  They wanted someone to throw the Romans out and all God sent them was the key to eternal life.  What a disappointment!

On Monday, Jesus preached in the Temple and further distanced Himself from the people’s vision and demonstrated God’s vision.  He went in to the temple and through out the vendors selling “sacrificial” birds and animals at exorbitant cost, as well as the moneychangers, changing Roman money for Temple money dishonestly.  Far from announcing Himself head of the temple, He announced they had made His Father’s house a den of thieves.  Rather than working within the Jewish establishment, He over turned it!

Jesus and the Pharisees dispute in the Temple. He left for the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. There he delivers the “Mount of Olives Discourse”. Judas agrees to betray him to the Jewish priests for 30 pieces of silver.

The Sanhedrin was gathered together and decided to kill Jesus, even before Pesach if possible. In the meantime, Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper. Here he was anointed on his head by Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, with very expensive ointment of spikenard. Some of the disciples, particularly Judas Iscariot, keeper of the purse, were indignant about this; the oil could have been sold to support the poor.  “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”  In this case, Judas recalls to mind many politicians.  Jesus reminded them of the importance of first things first and the futility of giving, rather than helping, when He said in Matthew 26.11 “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.”  Judas went to the Sanhedrin and offered them his support in exchange for silver. From this moment on Judas was looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. Judas spied on Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane where he came on his plan.

Maundy Thursday
At the Passover Feast, Jesus and his disciples share the “Last Supper” and He washes their feet. Jesus blesses his bread and wine as his flesh and blood and shares it with his disciples, the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. He informs them that one of them will betray him. They go back to the garden of Gethsemane.

Good Friday
In the early hours before sunup, Jesus is betrayed by the “Judas Kiss” and arrested. At sunrise, he is disowned by Peter thrice before the cock croweth. When brought before Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest, and his Council, he is condemned. He says that he will rise from death after three days.

They hand him over to the Roman authority, Pontius Pilate, who sends him to Herod (Antipas, the son of Herod the Great). Then Pilate asks the crowd who he is to pardon: a murderer, or Jesus? The crowd chooses Barabas and Jesus is sentenced to death.

Jesus is brought to Calvary, where on the “third hour” (9 am) he is crucified. He is mocked as he hangs between the Bad Thief and the Good Thief, whom he blesses. On the “sixth hour” (noon), darkness covers the land. Jesus cries out “My God, My God, hast Thou forsaken Me? ”

After drinking wine, he commits his spirit to his Father and dies. Matthew reports an earthquake that destroys the Temple. Many understand now that Jesus was the Son of God. His body is taken down and anointed. He is buried in a cave. This is the first day of death.

Holy Saturday
The Jewish Council remembers his vow to return and has the tomb guarded and sealed with a heavy stone. His followers stay in the “Easter Vigil”. Second day of death.

Easter Sunday
On the third day of death, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary find the tomb empty, but for an angel who tells them Jesus is already resurrected and is on His way to Galilee. On their way to tell the others, Jesus appears to them.  Death is conquered, the Promise delivered.  Our lives from this day forward are eternal!

Think about the Week that was!
The reason Jesus came to Jerusalem at the Passover was to take the place of the yearly sacrifice by one perfect sacrifice, one time, for all time and for all mankind. His was the blood marking our door that the destroyer might pass over.  The week started on a triumphant note and ended up trying to do between there were windows into the future, glimpses of the past, moments of despair, moments of terror, moments of confusion; but in the end joy and the ultimate triumph.

Ronald Regan on the King James Bible
" Indeed, it is an incontrovertible fact that all the complex and horrendous questions confronting us at home and worldwide have their answer in that single book. — Ronald Reagan The King James Bible, Newsweek, Dec. 27, 1982 p. 46

The following transcript is one of Ronald Reagan's famous radio addresses. In this address (which aired 6 September 1977), Ronald Reagan, the great orator, eloquently gives his thoughts on the "Good News Bible" (also called the Good News for Modern Man and Today's English Version) in comparison to the Authorized Version or the King James Bible. emphasis added What would you say if someone decided Shakespeare's plays, Charles Dicken's novels, or the music of Beethoven could be rewritten & improved? I'll be right back. . .

Writing in the journal "The Alternative", Richard Hanser, author of The Law & the Prophets and Jesus: What Manner of Man Is This?, has called attention to something that is more than a little mind boggling. It is my understanding that the Bible (both the Old & New Testaments) has been the best selling book in the entire history of printing.

Now another attempt has been made to improve it. I say another because there have been several fairly recent efforts to quote "make the Bible more readable & understandable" unquote. But as Mr. Hanser so eloquently says, "For more than 3 ½ centuries, its language and its images, have penetrated more deeply into the general culture of the English speaking world, and been more dearly treasured, than anything else ever put on paper." He then quotes the irreverent H. L. Mencken, who spoke of it as purely a literary work and said it was, "probably the most beautiful piece of writing in any language."

They were, of course, speaking of The Authorized Version, the one that came into being when the England of King James was scoured for translators & scholars. It was a time when the English language had reached it's peak of richness & beauty.

Now we are to have The Good News Bible which will be in, "the natural English of everyday adult conversation." I'm sure the scholars and clergymen supervised by the American Bible Society were sincerely imbued with the thought that they were taking religion to the people with their Good News Bible, but I can't help feeling we should instead be taking the people to religion and lifting them with the beauty of language that has outlived the centuries.

Mr. Hanser has quoted from both the St. James Version & the Good News Bible some well known passages for us to compare. A few thousand years ago Job said "How forcible are right words!" [Job 6:25] The new translators have him saying "Honest words are convincing." That's only for openers. There is the passage [Eccl. 1:18], "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow". Is it really an improvement to say instead, "The wiser you are, the more worries you have; the more you know the more it hurts."

In the New Testament, in Mathew, we read "The voice of the one crying in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way." [Matthew 3:3] The Good News version translates that, "Someone is shouting in the desert. Get the road ready." It sounds like a straw boss announcing lunch hour is over.

The hauntingly beautiful 23rd Psalm is the same in both versions, for a few words, "The Lord is my shepherd" but instead of continuing "I shall not want" we are supposed to say "I have everything I need."

The Christmas story has undergone some modernizing but one can hardly call it improved. The wondrous words "Fear not: for; behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy" has become, "Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you."

The sponsors of the Good News version boast that their Bible is as readable as the daily paper – and so it is. But do readers of the daily news find themselves moved to wonder, "at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth"? Mr. Hanser suggests that sadly the "tinkering & general horsing around with the sacred texts will no doubt continue" as pious drudges try to get it right. "It will not dawn on them that it has already been gotten right."

This is Ronald Reagan. Thanks for listening.
— aired 6 September 1977

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