Verse of the Day

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saint Michael and all Angels superseding Eighteenth 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.  Some from Bishop Jerry, many from Rev Bryan Dabney, a few from other places, some from Rev Geordie Menzies-Grierson, but overall mostly from Bryan.  He always has a few great ones to share.  On to the On Point quotes –

As a democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a perfectly narcissistic moron.
HL Mencken
The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956) was a journalist, satirist, critic and a Democrat. He wrote this editorial while working for the Baltimore Evening Sun. It appeared in the 26 July 1920 edition.

If we are true Christians, we must not expect everything smooth in our journey to heaven. We must count it no strange thing, if we have to endure sicknesses, losses, bereavements, and disappointments, just like other people. Free pardon and full forgiveness, grace by the way and glory to the end – all this our Savior has promised to give. But He has never promised that we shall have no afflictions. He loves us too well to promise that.
JC Ryle
Bishop of Liverpool

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
I St. John 3:18

Strive to live a courageous life. Confess Christ before men. Whatever station you occupy, in that station confess Christ ... Strive to live a joyful life. Live like men who look for that blessed hope — the second coming of Jesus Christ. This is the prospect to which we should all look forward.
JC Ryle
19th century Anglican bishop and author
(Holiness, p. 285)

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.
Douglas Wilson
20th and 21st American theologian, author and Classical Christian educator

There is no more blessed way of living than a life of dependence upon a covenant-keeping God. We have no care, for he careth for us; we have no troubles, because we cast our burdens upon the Lord.
Charles H. Spurgeon
19th century English pastor and author
(Morning and Evening, p. 491)

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
Dr. Adrian Rogers
20th and 21st century Southern Baptist pastor and author

Looking at the person of the Lord Jesus Christ in the new [bible] versions is much like looking through the wrong end of a telescope at a vanishing Jesus.
Gail Riplinger
20th and 21st century American Bible scholar and author

In light of our disregard for General Washington’s timeless warnings, it is little wonder that we find ourselves trillions of dollars in debt due in part to the constant demand for funding multiple military operations. As the United States marches into one after another unconstitutional and unwise foreign military entanglement, the Constitution, the rule of law, and virtue are counted among the collateral damage.
Joe Wolverton, II, JD
21st century American legal commentator
(Washington’s Farewell Address: Beware of “Tools and Dupes”, 9-20-13)

Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
George Washington
American patriot, general officer and president


The Propers for today are found on Page 251-253, with the Collect first:

Saint Michael and all Angels.
[September 29.]

The Collect.

 EVERLASTING God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant that, as thy holy Angels always do thee service in heaven, so, by thy appointment, they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We also use the Collect for the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity found on Page 214:

The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

ORD, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Dru Arnold read the Epistle for today, which came from the Twelfth Chapter of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine, beginning at the Seventh Verse.  The reading from Saint John’s Revelation is more than just a brief history of the Devil’s downfall, literally, it tells us why the Devil has so much power in this world.  As he passed from Heaven to Hell, he got his talons in the earth, our earth.  He cut wide swaths through the firmament in which infection grows unto this day.  The only cure for that infection is the Christ of God; our Lord and Savior.  As long as we are His, the Devil has no power over us.  As soon as we leave Christ’s protection, we are subject to the infection that is the Prince of this World.

HERE was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Hap Arnold read today’s Holy Gospel which came from the Eighteenth Chapter of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, beginning at the First Verse:

T the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell-fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

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

Consider the words of the Collect for Saint Michaels, “…as thy holy Angels always do thee service in heaven, so, by thy appointment, they may succour and defend us on earth…”

Angels do God’s Work in Heaven and He Sends them here to do His Work here from time to time.  Do not be quick to discount their influence and their effect here.  Their presence is often made known to those who need God’s help and are not open to other ways.  As his wife was leaving this earth, my Uncle Jack was visited by angels.  They did not say, I am an angel, but their origin and mission was clear.

That brings us to the words of the Collect for the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, “…grant thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee, the only God …”

When you hear the word GRACE, what do you think of? 

·      Help;
·      Heavenly dispensation;
·      A gift freely granted;
·      The free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

The word can be any of these, it comes from Middle English: via Old French from Latin gratia, from gratus ‘pleasing, thankful’ and is related to grateful.

In this case we are asking God’s help, for which He charges nothing, except our faith and loyalty to Him, to withstand the temptations of this world.  We ask for help to withstand what?  Actually, what we are looking for is help to not follow our own devices and desires.  We are asking for help to make His Will our will.  To help us to do what will make us happy. For we know that we ourselves will not do what His Will is on our own volition, but rather we must ask that God plant the seed of His Will on our hearts so that we will do it.

Paradoxically, we are asking for help to do not what we want, but what is best for us.  We are asking God’s Help to make us want to do what He wants us to do, so that not only will we have “fun”, but be happy!  For, being happy is far more important and helps our spiritual lives more than the temporary state of fun. Fun will only last a few moments, happiness will last forever. On the surface, it does not really seem all that reasonable, but here we are imperfect creatures with free will! The free will sometimes or rather most of the time seems more like a curse than a blessing, at least to me. For I feel that with it, I am more tempted to go the wrong way than the right way, but when I go the right way, it then comes to me that it is a blessing.

The reading from Saint John’s Revelation is more than just a brief history of the Devil’s downfall, literally, it tells us why the Devil has so much power in this world.  As he passed from Heaven to Hell, he got his talons in the earth, our earth.  He cut wide swaths through the firmament in which infection grows unto this day.  The only cure for that infection is the Christ of God; our Lord and Savior.  As long as we are His, the Devil has no power over us.  As soon as we leave Christ’s protection, we are subject to the infection that is the Prince of this World. 

Lest we be too quick to look to Saint Michael or any of the other saints, angels or the like, Saint Matthew recounts Jesus’s admonition that we need to believe.  Believe as a little child, that is to accept Jesus’ teachings like a child accepts his parents’ directions, “Because I said so, that is why!”  We must accept God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost in faith because He Said So.  We cannot base our belief on intricate laws and teachings, but our faith must be because He Said So.  No more, no less.  There are many facts, many reasonings, many of this and many of that, but it boils down to: He Said So.  While a very simple song, there is much truth in:

Jesus Love me.
This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
--Anna B. Warner, 1820 -1915

Through out the Bible, Jesus constantly tells us to believe like little children, think about that before you get wrapped up in - How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?  The answer by the way is simple – However many are required.

Think also of this particular gospel when you here the word CHOICE bandied about by those who would sacrifice their children for a fiscal improvement (a nice way to say a buck or two): But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  Not much of a guess to figure Jesus’ position on abortion, is it? Or His position on the child abuse scandals in the Episcopal/Roman and other churches. It does not sound promising for those involved does it? This gospel also shows why you should treat your children nicely, if you don’t treat them nicely, then how can you expect God to treat you nicely?

Jesus tells us not to worry about earthly comfort, but eternal life.  That children are the key to that life and their faith is the key to that life. We have to believe as the children do, not questioning every little detail, but to simply believe. That is what He wants for us.

Can you feel the tie between the two Collects and the reading from Revelation and Matthew’s Gospel?    We need help.  Our first problem is to recognize it, the second it to accept it.  The Devil holds a lot of sway over this world, but if we are in Jesus’ hands we are out of reach of the Devil’s grasp.  As soon as we get out of Jesus’ hands, we are prey for the Devil.  Remember Peter’s admomition, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”  It is critical that our faith be complete, one side to another with no breech the Devil may exploit.  The most sure way is to keep our faith simple.  Following the KISS approach, as it were. The more complex we make it, the more the chance is that we are going to stray. Like that of a child.  And, children are the key to the future, take care of them. If we do not do either of these, our future will be rather grim.

All this is nice talk, but it is hard to do.  Having said that, remember, 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

A Sermon By Bishop James P. Dees, Founder of The Anglican Orthodox Church

The Healing of the Man With the Palsy

 There is no truer statement anywhere, I guess, than the statement which I suspect many of you have heard:  "We become like what we look at."  We are inclined to adopt the habit patterns and thought patterns of the people that we associate with.  It is of paramount importance therefore that we be selective in the things that we give our attention to.  That we be selective in the books that we read, the movies we see, TV programs we look at, etc., be selective of our whole environment, for the things that we give attention to react on us, affecting the disposition of our characters, the conditions of our hearts, our morals, the welfare of our souls.

These things being true, we in the Christian faith are reminded that we are to look to, and to follow and to let our characters and souls be molded by the One who is of supreme importance to all mankind, to every human being, and that One, of course, is Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God.  He is the very image of god, who came to earth to dwell among us, to show us God, to show us God's truth, to give us hope of immortality in God, and to remake us fallen creatures into the image of Himself, by His Grace, through the power of the Spirit of God and of His Spirit, working in us and through us, through our Faith.  THEREFORE, it behooves us and should be of infinite concern to us to look to Jesus to seek to follow Him, to seek to become like Him, to let God remake us by the power of His Spirit dwelling within us, into the Image of our blessed Saviour, that men seeing us may see something of God himself; and that in so doing we may become the effective instruments, by God's Grace, for His saving of the Lost, and that we, in doing so, may be saved ourselves.  Christ is our Saviour; Christ is our Lord and Master and God; He is the image by which we all are judged; by His Blood shed on the Cross for us, we are saved; and by way of Him comes the Spiritual power from God which transforms us slowly, slowly, ever so slowly, into the likeness of God Himself.

Therefore, it behooves us now and always, ever to be looking to Him, seeking His Will, seeking to walk in His ways, seeking to obey His Commandments, believing in Him, for in so doing we find Eternal Life and are given His infinite Peace that passes all understanding.

Acknowledging this, we ask, where do we find Him?  How can we look to Jesus?  Where?  We can find him in the love of faithful Christian friends; we can find him in the beauty of His crated world around us, His work is seen in the sunset, the lily, and the rose.  He is experienced as we engage in faithful Christian worship and service, in visiting the sick, in visiting the lonely, in visiting shut-ins, visiting our older members, in helping to provide for the needy, and in serving Him in His Church, cleaning the Church, cutting the grass, serving at the altar, in the women's guild, singing His praise, giving Him thanks.

                                But, before our Saviour can be deeply experienced in these ways, it has been the witness of 2000 years of Christian experience that He must first be deeply experienced in Faith now as to the God-Man who walked the earth 2000 years ago manifesting God to me, showing them what God was like, healing the sick, raising the dead, forgiving the sinful, and showing to mankind God's love and mercy and pity, as well as his demands  for righteousness, and telling of God's judgment on sin.  We should look for our Saviour in the Scriptures.  We should study our Bibles, and especially we should read our Saviour's life in the Four Gospels of the New Testament, for here we find our Saviour's life revealed.  Here the Gospels of St. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John we can look at the Son of God, and here we should be looking.  Here we should fasten our mind's eyes, our devotion, for here we find the stories about Him who came to save our race.  Here we see Him.  Here we should be looking, in the Scriptures.  And by God's Grace, and through the strengthening power that comes from above, as we look at Him, we come to be made more like Him, we come to put our trust in Him, we are given eternal life, we sense the experiencing of receiving eternal life; and when the time comes to die, we are ready confidently to entrust our souls, and the souls of our loved ones, into His keeping.

In the 9th Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, [which we read as the Gospel for the day,] we find one of the many, many stories from the life of our Lord that gives us an opportunity to look at Him as He dwelt among us.  I will read this story [again] for you to refresh our memories, and I would like for us to think about it for a little while together.

And Jesus entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy: Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.  And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, this man blasphemeth.  And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, "Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee: or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (then saith he to the sick of the palsy) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men. (St. Matthew 9:  l-8)

So often we hear these stories, or we read these stories, but we so often fail to get out of them what is in them because we fail to give them enough of our attention and our concentrated study.  Let us give our attention for a few minutes to this story from our Lord's life and see what we can see in it behind the historical facts that are given us.  What do we see here of eternal value and supernatural meaning?

First of all, in this story, we see running through it all, evidence of the Presence of God with His power.  This is the most important thing of all.  God is present with these people, through His Son.  His Spirit is sustaining them in their will to call on the Son of God for help.  God is there is the sustaining power of His Almighty being, by whom the heaven and earth were created and are sustained through all time and eternity.  God was present then, as He is present here in His Church now.  God was, and is, at hand.  God is here.

 The second thing that we encounter in this story is the existence of human need.  Human need for God is universal; all men need God everywhere all the time.  We need Him for the strengthening of our souls, for the feeding of our spirits, for the strengthening of our Faith for sustaining our moral character.  But particular human need is seen here in this story by this poor sick man, broken by the palsy, stricken to the point that he was unable to walk, stricken to the point where he had to be carried to Jesus by his friends, this man whom the laws of nature had decreed to live a helpless and a broken existence.

 In a real and profound sense, the fate of this poor man stricken with the palsy is the fate of all humanity!  For we all need the cleansing and strengthening power of the Son of God to cleanse our hearts and souls from all our sins and malice and pride and uncharitableness, jealousy, selfishness, greed, and all that fills our lives that keeps Jesus from filling us.  Some of us need God's healing powers for sick and broken bodies; we all need God's healing power for the regeneration of our souls, to make us anew in the likeness of His Son, to recreate us into that state of holiness and righteousness that is becoming to those who call themselves God's own.  All men need His Divine Grace and the healing influence of His Presence.

We all need Him who said:  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised."

Man's need for God is universal, we all need him.  We all need Him more than we know, and here we see this need pointed out as we observe these faithful friends bringing this poor man sick of the palsy to our Blessed Lord for healing and for strength.

A third element in this story of the healing of this man is the element of profound Faith.  these men had Faith, Faith in Jesus.  The friends of this sick man go to the trouble of going and getting him and carrying him through the press and confusion of the crowd that always surrounded Jesus when He was publicly ministering, seeking help from the Spring of Heaven for healing.  They come to Him in Faith, nothing wavering, believing; they come bringing this their friend to Him in whom they have profoundest confidence, and who is able to help.  They come to Jesus as all men should come, every one of us.  The Bible tells us over and over again, to cry to Him, to pray to Him, who is able to help us.

The Scriptures tell us,

The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous,
and his ears are open unto their cry.

God tells us in the Bible to look for Him faithfully,

If with all y our hearts ye truly seek me,
ye shall surely find me."

Our Lord tells us:

"Ask and ye shall have, seek and ye shall find,
knock and it shall be opened unto you."

He gives us blessed assurance in His Holy Word:
"Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer;
thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am."

And those who cry to God come to know finally what the hymn writer knew when he wrote:

"I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me;
It was not I that found, O Saviour true;
No, I was found of thee."

We should cry in faith believing utterly, or we might as well not cry at all.  It is necessary that we have faith when we look to God for help.  We must believe truly.  "O trust in the Lord; wait patiently for Him, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart!!  Believe!  Trust!  We need not expect help from God if we pray with little faith, half believing, filled with doubts and uncertainties.  We recall that in His own home town of Nazareth, Jesus Himself was not able to do any great works "because of their unbelief."

 These men who brought the man with the palsy had faith, we may be sure; and when we pray to God, we must have faith, or our prayers are idle words, and we can expect no answer.

 We come now to the most important element in this story, of the healing of the man with the palsy, and that is, as we know, the person of Jesus Himself.  He is the focal point of this story, as he is the focal point of all history.  These men cry to God for healing and it is through the only true Mediator that they call, through Jesus.  They call for help from God through Christ.  And here again they set the example for us all.  It is through Christ that God hears us and answers our prayers.  We have an abundance of exhortation to us in the New Testament to do this.  In the Gospel of St. John, Jesus tells His disciples:

"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name
that will I do, that the father may be
glorified in the Son.

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I
will do it."

And in St. Paul's letter to St. Timothy, we read:  "....there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."  Not the Virgin Mary, Not the saints, but Jesus.  Not Mohammed, not Buddha, but Jesus.  We make our prayers to God through Christ, as did these men, and God hears and answers faithful prayers made in the Name of --  and in the Spirit of His dear Son.

 These men brought this man to Jesus to be healed of his physical infirmity, to be healed of the palsy and what was the first thing that Jesus did?  We remember the story.  When Jesus saw him, He sensed immediately that more was wrong with this person than was apparent on the surface, that is, the palsy.  Something was wrong with him spiritually; he was carrying his sins and a burden of guilt; and so our Lord, putting first things first, sought to life his spirit and to help him spiritually, and so he did what he considered to be the most important thing first.  He freed him from the burden of guilt that weighed on his conscience when he came into the presence of His Holiness.  We hear those blessed words:

"Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."

What happens here is what always happens when someone sincerely seeks to come into the presence of our Saviour.  When we come, He always gives us more than we expect.  More even than we "can desire or pray for;" for of the inestimable riches of His Grace, of the Kingdom of God, God gives good gifts to us of those things -- spiritual blessings -- of which we know not (don't even know about) and therefore cannot ask.  He gives us His spiritual blessings of forgiveness, of spiritual peace, of spiritual strength, of new life, of perfect trust, of happiness in God.  He is always more ready to hear than we are to pray, and Jesus gave on this occasion to this man, because he had come to Him in faith, that for which he did not even know to ask, the forgiveness of his sins.  This is what we all should seek and ask for first when we enter into His Presence.  His Holiness compels it.

Some of our Lord's critics were standing by on that day.  We always have our critics standing by, whether we are doing good or doing evil.  Having critics is nothing new.  Any faithful minister of the Gospel knows this, and all of you do, I suspect.  And Jesus had his critics.  And they challenged Jesus when He pronounced the absolution over this man, proclaiming that his sins were forgiven.

"This man blasphemeth,"  they said.  "Who are you to forgive sins.
Only God can forgive sins."

"And Jesus knowing their thoughts, said, Wherefore think ye evil
in your hearts?"  For whether is easier to say, thy sins be
forgiven thee; or to say, arise walk?

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth
to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,)
Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house."

And he got up, and took up his bed and went.

Jesus, in showing the Pharisees, his critics, that he could heal this man of the palsy, demonstrated to them that He walked in the Power of God that empowered Him also to forgive the sins of men.  Jesus revealed thus to them the Divine power with which, and in which, He had come among them

This man, this God-Man, Jesus the Christ, who walked the earth 2000 years ago, is not dead.  He lives, and He is with His children still; He is with us still; and His faithful children know He is.  We know He is.  He is with us, in us.  St. John in his first Epistle assures us,

"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God,
God dwelleth in him and he in God."

and again,

"Ye are of God, little children,
and greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world."

Jesus still works miracles today for those who pray to Him in Spirit and in Truth and in accordance with His will.  His promise, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world," is no empty promise.  He is with His children, and they know it, and He will continue to be, as He promised.  And He will be with any man who will let Him --  Who will open his heart to Him. -- Who will be faithful to Him.

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock;" he says.
"If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I
will come in to him, and will sup with him, and
he with me."

and He says --

"to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with
me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am
set down with my Father in his throne.  He that
hath an ear, let him hear...."

Jesus is with his children still, and He still works miracles in our times.  I have seen them.  And I suspect that some of you have too.

We thank God for these Bible stories of our saviour.  We thank God infinitely for the gift of His son, Jesus, and that we can look at Him, can look to Him, and be drawn to Him, can be drawn by Him, that by His Grace, as we look to Him, we can be remade by Him to become more like Him, that by His Grace, we may be made fit to enter into the Kingdom of God in its fullness, clothed with his righteousness, clothed with his holiness, when we meet God face to face on the Judgment Day, which awaits us all, which will be a great day and a happy day, a glorious day, a day of victory, of triumph, for God's children.

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 and Angels
Psalm 8, Job 38:1-7, Hebrews 1:13-2:10
St. Michael and All Angels
September 29, 2013
Today is a double duty day on our calendar of prayer and worship.  First, it is the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity.  Trinity season begins on Trinity Sunday, eight weeks after Easter Sunday.  From Easter to Trinity we remember the resurrection and ascension of our Lord, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and on Trinity Sunday, the full revelation of the Holy Trinity, which means we have the full revelation of God; we know Him as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  So Trinity Sunday is the natural culmination of the first half of our calendar, which concentrates on the foundational doctrines of the Bible, or, in more Biblical language, the faith once delivered to the saints.  There are twenty-six weeks in Trinity season this year.  That means there are only eight weeks left until the first Sunday in Advent, when we turn our emphasis from what Christians do, back to what Christians believe, and we rejoice again in our celebrations of the birth of Christ, His teaching about the Kingdom of God, and His glorious death and resurrection for us, all done to restore us to full fellowship with God and to purchase a place for us in His Kingdom of Righteousness.

Second, today is the day noted as the feast of Saint Michael and all Angels.  You might wonder why we talk about angels.  After all, they are created beings, and we don’t want to make the mistake of worshiping them or praying to them, for that would be idolatry.  But I can give a very good reason to talk about angels; the Bible talks about them.  Jesus talked about them.  In last night’s reading from Matthew’s Gospel Jesus said, “So shall it be at the end of the world; the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”   But today, I don’t want to talk so much about the angels themselves, but about the glory of God, who created and rules the realm of angels.  The existence of angels reminds us that there is a mysterious realm out there some where that we can’t see or contact with our senses.  And this realm is populated by magnificent creatures of such power and goodness that they are beyond our comprehension.  If you could combine the military and economic power of all the nations on earth, you would have a tremendous power for building up and tearing down.  Yet, I suppose all that would be nothing compared to the power of a single angel.  I realize the highly symbolic nature of the language of the book of Revelation, yet I am wonderfully impressed at the power ascribed to angels in the eighth and ninth chapters of that book.  At the actions of angels a third of all life on earth dies, stars fall into the sea, and the sun and moon are darkened.  I have no doubt that one angel could burn the earth to ashes in a moment if he wanted to.  I have no doubt Satan, the fallen angel, would do it, if the immeasurable power of God did not hold him in check.

I said angels show us that a realm exists beyond our ability to know or enter.  It is in this spiritual realm that angels live.  The physical universe is vast.  To us it is virtually endless.  Yet, it is not infinite.  Only its Creator is infinite.  That means, the physical universe is no more than a tiny speck to God.  And beyond the universe is another realm.  Or maybe it’s not beyond our universe.  Maybe it is in the same place.  Maybe the spiritual realm of angels and the physical realm of man occupy the same “space” but are of different substances, ours being material, theirs being spirit.

But all of that is speculation, and about as profitable as the Mediaeval discussions of how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.  Yet there are two points about this that matter.  First is that the spiritual realm exists.  There is more to creation than meets the eye. There is a realm that is far different from ours in substance and in moral essence.  There is a realm where powerful creatures see God face to face, recognize His greater power and pure perfection, and worship and serve Him without end.

Second, God is greater than all angels and all realms.  We look at the world and we see mountains and seas, and we marvel at the power of God to create such beautiful and terrible things.  They are beautiful in their wildness, and it is that wildness that makes them terrible.  Mountains can radiate peace and stability, or they can quake and crush everything in their path.  The sea can reflect the beauty of a sunrise, or it can bring hurricanes that wash away people and cities.  We look at mountains and seas, and we marvel at the greatness of God their Creator.  We should.  But the other realm is greater than our realm.  Angels outshine the sun.  The glory of angels is greater than man’s.  The power of angels is greater than any storm or earthquake.  And yet, they are nothing compared to their Creator and ruler.

We read in the Scriptures about angels singing at the birth of Christ.  We read of them visiting Mary, Joseph and Elizabeth.  We read about them at the empty tomb of Christ.  We even read about them ministering to Christ before His crucifixion  But the most significant passage about angels, in my opinion is Revelation 5:11 and 12.

And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

Here is a picture of an uncountable number of angels gathered around the throne of God, and what are they doing?  What work is so critical that such wonderful creatures should be devoted to it?  They are worshiping God.  If such wonderful creatures worship God, we should, too.
+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 his sermon.

St. Michael and All Angels

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels which has been celebrated by the Christian church since at least the fifth century.  Michael means “who is like God” We honor them because as the author of Hebrews writes: 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Now, Michael is just one of the Archangels. He is referred to as ‘the angel of the Lord’, because he was sent to Moses, Jacob, and Abraham and to other people throughout the history of the world.

Michael’s name shows up in the Bible in three places. The book of Daniel in the Old Testament is the first. A messenger came to Daniel while Daniel was in captivity in Babylon. The messenger reported that he was delayed in coming to comfort Daniel because he was being held by the kings of Persia. : (Dan.10:13). 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

The next time Michael’s name appears is in the New Testament in the Book of Jude. In The First Chapter, Ninth Verse we read of Michael challenging the Devil over false teaching about the body of Moses. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (Jude 1.9)

In our first lesson from the book of Revelation, the apostle John writes what he sees, and he sees war in heaven. It was “Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon or Satan.” So, the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels remind us there is another realm of God’s creation in addition to the material realm we material beings live in. A realm so foreign to our physical senses the only way we even know it exists is because God tells us about it in the Bible.

In the Nicene Creed, we confess according to the Word of God, we believe in “God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, visible and invisible.” What we are saying is we believe that there are at least two planes or realms of God’s creation, the ‘visible’ and the ‘invisible’ which can interact.

Angels belong to the ‘invisible’ realm of creation. On rare occasions, they may actually be ‘seen’ by someone in the ‘visible’ realm.

But they’re a part of the ‘invisible’ realm of creation. In other words, angels can be seen in the visible realm when they need to be.

The Bible tells us angels are 'spirit beings.' They may become visible when absolutely necessary, but they never take on human flesh and blood like ours as Jesus took on when He became man. Angels are an important part of God's creation the Bible tells us angels are all over.

In heaven, the angels are visible. The prophet Isaiah sees and hears angels gathered around the throne of God in heaven. He describes them in great detail and he tells us that they're singing …"Holy, Holy, and Holy." In his Revelation of heaven, John sees angels and he speaks with them and they speak to him. From his heavenly perspective, John tells us that angels are being sent from heaven to earth on special missions as God's agents, doing His bidding.

What we may be surprised to find however is the amount of angelic activity here on earth. In the Old Testament, they're in the Garden of Eden with flaming swords. They're visiting Abraham and Sarah to tell them that Sarah is going to have a baby. An angel tells Abraham to stand down just as he's ready to plunge the knife into his son Isaac. There are angels all over while Israel is in Egypt, and while they make their trek through the dessert. Angels appear to kings and prophets and even to donkeys.

It's the same in the New Testament. An angel appears to Zechariah to tell him that Elizabeth is going to have a son whom he's to name John. And of course, the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and Joseph to tell them that Mary is going to be with child and they are to name Him Jesus, "for He will save His people from their sins."

Angels announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds tending their flock outside Bethlehem.

Angels attend the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. Angels attend to Jesus after His temptation in the desert. Angels are doing the explaining at His resurrection, and are the ones who explain to the disciples the meaning of Jesus' ascension. It's no surprise that when Jesus comes again in glory, He will be flanked by angels.

After the Ascension an angel leads Phillip to the Ethiopian eunuch. An angel broke Peter's chains and led him out of prison. An angel struck down King Herod because of his wickedness. In all, angels are mentioned 125 times, just in Acts through Revelation.

All of this and much more is going on all around us, all the time, in the invisible realm of God's creation. In his Revelation, John sees what we will all see. 11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;' (Rev.5:11)
In our Gospel reading this morning, we see that angels are God's messengers, and they're at work watching over God's 'little children.' "10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven (Mat.18:10).

We are never to pray to angels or put our hope in them, or even think that the Church has set aside this day to worship them. The angels, even Michael the archangel, are a part of God’s creation. They are created beings. And so we do not fall into worshipping the creation, but only the Creator.

Only the devil and his angels want the worship and praise of man. The angels of God give all praise and worship to God. John made this mistake during his vision as he was greeted by an angel:  And he saith unto me, Write, and Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev.19:9-10).

We are to be reminded God created angels to be His agents, and He created us to be His children. As wonderful as the angels are, they are not God’s greatest love.  We are. God does not honor angels by becoming an angel, but He honored us by becoming a man.

God did not give Himself up to death on the cross to save the angels; He did so to save us. God does not give His body and blood to the angels to eat and drink, but He gives His flesh and blood for those with flesh and blood. And all this He does for us because we are His beloved. He loves His whole creation.  But His greatest love He reserves for us. " 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.

There is no hope for Satan and all his fallen angels, for God did not send His Son to die for angels, either the good ones or the bad ones. The good angels never need to repent and the bad angels never will.

God sent His Son to die for you that you would repent and believe and by believing be saved. Jesus says every time one lost sinner on earth repents, all the angels in heaven rejoice.

Because one more human, for whom Christ paid the highest price, is snatched from Satan's kingdom, and brought into the God's kingdom. One more flesh and blood sinner is rescued from death and the grave, and filled with the Spirit of life.

THEREFORE with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious Name; evermore praising thee, and saying,
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of thy
glory: Glory be to thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

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.

Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

In Exodus (14:5-14), we learnPharaoh was inflamed by a spirit of violence to pursue the people of God as they journeyed out of the precincts of the land of Egypt. One might wonder why, after all the devastation which God had wrought in his kingdom, that Pharaoh would seek to do with his army what he could not do with his own gods. The force he faced was supernatural not natural. Pharaoh’s mighty strike force was more than a match for any other army of that time, but against the LORD of Hosts, it stood no chance.

As for the Israelites, one might assume that after witnessing the awesome display of God’s sovereign might against the land of Egypt, they would have possessed a more abiding faith in him. They, of course, did not. They were murmurers from the beginning: always complaining at every turn and never giving God a chance to take action on their behalf. The bottom line was that they did not trust the LORD their God, and they were quick to turn against both him and his servant, Moses.

Returning to events of our lesson, God had led the Israelites to the shores of the Red Sea. With no boats present to aid their crossing and with the added element of Pharaoh’s army bearing down upon them, they howled, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore has thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us ... than that we should die in the wilderness. This should have been a time of trustful prayer to the LORD. Instead we are presented with a despicable display of unfaithfulness. How quickly they had forgotten what they had witnessed over the previous weeks since Moses had returned to lead them out of bondage.

Let’s see, there were the ten plagues which devastated the land of Egypt and not one of them affected the Israelites. Were they blind to those things which had resulted in their deliverance: the plagues of frogs, boils, lice, hail mingled with fire (in a country that never saw rain), darkness that could be felt, the river turned to blood, and the death of the first born? Then there was the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
It would seem that on the shores of the Red Sea, all these express acts and signs should have been enough to convince even the most callous skeptic among the people, but alas it was not. They were ungrateful to God for their deliverance from bondage, and they demonstrated their lack of thankfulness via their murmurings and their fearmongering. It was their ingratitude, their stiff-necked attitude and their faithlessness that became the defining characteristics of the children of Israel throughout their history.

But they have not been alone in their lack of faith as noted in the Scriptures. Even the disciples of our Lord prior to his resurrection suffered a season of doubt and denial. St. Thomas would not believe the resurrection accounts of his fellows and has been dubbed through the millennia as “Doubting Thomas.” Even noble and stalwart St. Peter waffled on several occasions, even denying for a moment that he knew the Lord.

Now the difference between the disciples and the children of Israel in Moses’ time is clearly that the former after witnessing the risen Lord, went forth in faith believing on him unto death; while the latter — who had experienced a continual stream of events where God acted on their behalf — could not muster enough faith and trust in him for their deliverance from Pharaoh; or the giants in the land of Canaan; or in the commandment of God to secure all the land of Canaan during the time of Joshua. And further, in their desire to be like every other kingdom around them, they rejected God’s rule over them as their king in their quest to have an earthly one. They also rejected the very prophets of God who had communicated God’s plan and purpose for them, while conveniently forgetting those miracles which he had wrought in their sight such as their deliverance from the Assyrian king Sennacherib, and the works of the prophets beforehand such as Elijah. Finally, they refused to recognize the first coming of the Messiah Prince who had come to deliver them from their sins.

Witness the words of St. Stephen in Acts 7:51-53 wherein he leveled this charge: Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. Needless to say, St. Stephen’s comments marked him for death at their hands as well.

And many within the Church today are not immune from the temptation to look at the pressures and problems that the Devil sends our way as being too hard for God, or are as a minimum, of no real interest to him. Let me say this in all candor, THERE IS NOTHING TOO HARD FOR GOD!!!

Write that down and keep it ever in your mind. If you need justification for it then turn to the very first chapter of Genesis and read the very first verse; and afterward, tell me that anything in this created universe is too hard for God. He made it. He designed it. He spoke it into existence. And we, who are made in his image and have a conscious awareness of his presence as regenerated people, ought to recognize the truth of God for he has given such to us in his word written.

Therefore, the birth of Isaac to a woman well passed her child-bearing years; the protection of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who had been cast into the fiery furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar for refusing to worship his golden statue; the empowering of Elijah to raise the widow of Zarephath’s son from the dead, the various acts of the apostles wherein they raised the dead, healed the sick and were brought through various trials which in the ordinary course of things would have resulted in their own deaths; are all classed as miracles which defy our understanding because they are supernatural.

St. Paul reminded us in his first epistle to the Corinthians (2:1-16), that he came not preaching human wisdom, but that of God. He came not knowing anything but, Jesus Christ, and him crucified. He was given to write those words so that the faith of the believers in Corinth — as well as ours— should rest on nothing but the power of God. As he noted further, But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. The unregenerated cannot know the things of God by their own will and understanding. It is impossible for them without the coming of the Holy Ghost to empower and enliven them to see the truth in God’s word written. The apostle then finished the chapter with these words: But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

All those men and women who have been mentioned in scripture as being of the true faith, possessed a God-consciousness, which for us, as regenerated beings, refers to the mind of Christ. The Christ-centered mind seeks to honor the will of God by keeping his word and commandments. We trust him implicitly and we believe that he will fulfil the promises he made to the apostles and saints of old.

So when we read the miraculous accounts as recorded within the pages of Scripture such as the crossing of the Red Sea, we find that Moses’ words still ring true for us because they offer us an eternal encouragement to trust in God’s power as opposed to what those who possess so-to-speak rational minds will tell us is quite frankly impossible. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD. We should do so as well.

Let us pray,

ather, make of us a people who are bold in our faith and who trust in thy word; and help us daily to be obedient to thy will; to possess a heart to live as we proclaim; and to watch for the glorious appearing of thy dear Son, Jesus Christ; for these things we ask in his most precious name. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+

Lutheran Sermon on Angels – Charles Hendrickson
An Excellent Sermon for St Michaels and All Angels – Bishop Jerry
"St. Michael and All Angels: Messengers, Worshipers, Warriors"
Revelation 12:7-12
St. Matthew Lutheran Church
Bonne Terre, Missouri

Today in the Christian church year is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. It always falls on September 29, and since this year that date falls on a Sunday, that's why we're celebrating this festival today.

Angels, thus, will be topic of this sermon: who they are and what they do and why we thank God for them. And we'll even get into who this mysterious figure St. Michael is a little bit. So with that by way of introduction, we begin our theme today, "St. Michael and All Angels: Messengers, Worshipers, Warriors."

First of all, we should explain just who angels are, their nature, what kind of beings they are, according to Holy Scripture. We can begin by saying that angels are created beings. Sometime during the six days of creation, the Lord God created these beings we call angels. They are unseen spirits, doing the will of God–"ministering spirits," the Bible calls them. "God's secret agents," you could almost call them: "secret," in the sense that we human beings rarely have ever been allowed to see angels, to know exactly what they are doing at any given time; and "agents," in that the angels act at God's direction and by his authority.

The Bible is clear throughout that there is an unseen spirit world, with lots going on that we mere mortals are not privy to. We may see the results of this unseen spiritual activity in our world–in human history, in the rise and fall of nations, in the protection and safety of the church, or even of individual believers. We may see the results, but we do not see the angelic activity itself. Sometimes at key moments in salvation history God did let humans catch a glimpse of what's going on in the spirit realm, and we have those moments recorded for us in the Scriptures. And that's the only place where we have reliable information about angels, that is, in the Bible. Do not base your theology of angels on what you have seen in TV shows or movies or what some person claims an angel told them in a private revelation. No, only in God's Word do we get the solid truth about angels.

And the truth about angels, as we survey the Sacred Scriptures, we can briefly summarize in three words: messengers, worshipers, and warriors. We'll take these one at a time.

One, angels are messengers. In fact, the word "angel" means "messenger." The Greek word "angelos" can be translated as that, "messenger." That's the word that used to identify these unseen spirit beings, because often when we encounter them in the Bible, that's what they're doing: delivering a message. God sent angels to deliver messages to man, particularly at critical moments in God's dealings with mankind.

For example, the angel Gabriel was sent, first to Zechariah, to announce the coming birth of John, the forerunner of the Lord, and then to the virgin Mary, to announce that she was to give birth to the Christ child himself. And when she did, on that Christmas night, an angel appeared to some shepherds out in a field, to let them know that that night a Savior had been born to them, which is Christ the Lord. Then, fast forward, and we come to the resurrection and ascension of our Lord. Again, angels are sent to deliver the message. The two young men at Jesus' tomb–they tell the women, "He is not here. He is risen, just as he said." And forty days later, at Jesus' ascension, they tell the disciples: "Why do you stand staring up into the heavens? This Jesus will come again in the same way you saw him go up into the heavens." Key moments in the life and work of our Savior Jesus Christ, and you find angels coming to deliver a message, explaining the moment to the persons who witness it. Angels are God's messengers.

Second, angels are worshipers. Go back to Christmas night. After the one angel delivers the message to the shepherds, then a whole host of angels light up the sky and sing the praises of God: "Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men." That's worship. And in the throne room scenes of Revelation, angels are leading the praises of God, just like they did back in the temple scene of Isaiah, where they were singing "Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of thy glory." Notice, by the way, how the angels, in their worship of God, set the pattern for the worship of the church. In the historic Christian liturgy, the main canticle in each half of the Divine Service is based on one of these songs of the angels: the Gloria in Excelsis in the Service of the Word; and the Sanctus in the Service of the Sacrament. Angels are worshipers, and we in the church follow their lead and join in their worship.

Angels are messengers. Angels are worshipers. Third, angels are warriors. Warriors? Yes, warriors. Now this may disturb our image of angels as being rather soft, even effeminate, creatures, or else as cute little cherubs with rosy cheeks. No, those are not biblical ways of looking at angels. In the Bible, when angels are described, they can be fiery and frightening. Rather than "Touched by an Angel," more likely would be "Torched by an Angel." When angels appear to human beings, they startle and scare the people, so much so, that the angels invariably have to say, "Fear not," "Do not be afraid."
Angels are fearsome warriors. They do battle for God. They are his troops that he sends out to do battle for us, on our behalf, against any evil forces that would harm us, whether seen or unseen. God's angels are our guardians and protectors, guarding the church as a whole, protecting particular churches in various places, and even guarding individual Christians. They guard us against all types of harm, physical and spiritual. We can't say for sure that every individual Christian has his own guardian angel assigned to him, but we can say–and say it with thanksgiving and confidence–that God does send his angels to watch over us from day to day. Luther has it right when he has us pray in the Daily Prayers, "Let your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen."

Now this brings us to St. Michael and the special focus of this day, which is, how God guards and protects us with his angels, and in particular, how St. Michael the Archangel does battle for us so that the old evil foe, the devil, does not have any power over us.

St. Michael is a rather mysterious figure in the Bible, only mentioned a few times. You have most of those mentions in the readings today from Daniel and Revelation. The name Michael–"Mi-cha-el" in the Hebrew–means "Who is like God?" That's a good question. Indeed, who is? No one can match God in his power and majesty. But Michael the Archangel, as God's appointed agent, acting with his authority, is one who is like God in his might. He is the one whom God uses to throw down Satan from his power over humanity.

Now we need to ask: How can Michael do this? On what basis? And here is where the gospel in all of this comes in. The reason Michael can defeat the devil in battle is because Christ has defeated him on the cross.

You see, this is why St. Michael and All Angels is considered a Christ festival. That's why the paraments are white this morning. St. Michael and All Angels have their prominence because they glorify the person and work of Christ and carry out the victory he has won for us. Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, has defeated the devil and all evil, and therefore St. Michael and All Angels can act to throw down Satan and guard and protect the church. This is good, isn't it?

The message from Michael today is this: We win. We Christians win the final victory because Jesus has redeemed us from all sin, from death, and from the power of the devil. Remember, this was promised right from the beginning, when God cursed the serpent and told him that the woman's seed would strike him in the head, dealing him the fatal blow. This the woman's seed Jesus did when he was nailed to the cross. For that took away the devil's power over us. Our Champion Jesus took our sins and carried them to the cross and suffered and died for your sins, my friend. This took away the devil's ammunition against you. The devil has nothing left to charge you with before God. Jesus already served the death sentence for you. Take that, Accuser! You are defeated! In your face! Jesus goes and declares his victory over hell. Look, now he rises from the dead on the third day, showing that his mighty life has power over death. You will share in this eternal life, you who have been baptized into Christ. Jesus' victory is yours. We conquer by the blood of the Lamb.

Now God dispatches Michael and the angel army to do the final clean-up operation. These mighty warriors win the day. Your future is secure, dear Christian. Walk on in, the way is clear. And God will send his angels to see that you get there. "He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways." No evil shall prevail against you.

Today on this Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, we have heard that angels are unseen, created beings, ministering spirits sent to do God's will. They are messengers, they are worshipers, and they are warriors. They serve and protect. They serve God and protect us. The power they have to throw down Satan and guard the church comes from the victory Christ has won for us by his death and resurrection. And so all of this is something for us to worship and praise God for, namely, the ministry of St. Michael and All Angels.

More on the Suicide Attack at Christian Church in Pakistan which Kills Dozens
Evil is on the rise!

From Bishop Jerry - I am sure everyone is aware of the tragic bombing of All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan in which scores of innocent people were martyred. I now have news from Bishop Ernest Jacob. Though none of our own members were killed, many relatives and friends were. Please pray God will provide protection from this nonsensical Islamist terrorism afoot in Pakistan and around the world - according to His good Will and Providence.

Bishop Ernest's note:

Dear Bishop Ogles,

I was in Quetta when this incident happened. All Saints Church belongs to Church of Pakistan Peshawar Diocese. No one from our church was involved in this incident but my younger brother Augustin Jacob's wife relatives died in this incident and several injured. Augustin's father in law died while his wife's cousin's two children also died. One of his brother in law is in critical condition. Atleast 90 parishioners died in this suicide blast while more than 100 parishioners injured and are in hospital. Today we had a memorial service for them. There were 2000 Christians who attended the memorial service. People from all over the country came to participate. Anglican Orthodox Church also participated in this memorial service I myself was sitting on the altar and read a lesson from New Testament. Our priests and more than 100 members of our church also came. Please do pray for the grieved families and the injured.

Faithfully yours
Bishop Ernest Jacob

Why Pastors Won't Take A Stand by Chuck Baldwin, 26 September 2013
This column is archived here.

I am constantly asked, "Chuck, why don't pastors take a stand and speak out?" I've been a pastor most of my adult life. I believe I am qualified to answer that question. Here is the stark reality: the vast majority of pastors today are "success" oriented. Beginning in Bible College or seminary, and continuing throughout a pastor's ministerial life, the emphasis is success. And that means church growth, larger congregations, bigger buildings, bigger offerings, burgeoning statistics, greater notoriety, denominational praise, invitations to speak at conferences, applause from fellow ministers, not to mention the financial perks and benefits that come with pastoring a "successful" church.
And the way to learn how to build a successful church is to learn from those who have done it. Pastors regularly attend church growth conferences to learn from the "big" church pastors on how it's done. They purchase books, magazines, newsletters, etc., that are all geared towards telling pastors how to build a successful church. They are constantly being schooled in the latest and greatest "how to" strategies of church growth and success. This usually entails more and more sophisticated programs, music, sound, lighting, atmosphere, classes, seminars, organization, etc. Everything, and I mean everything, is geared toward success as described in the aforementioned paragraph.

Most pastors today are in reality not spiritual shepherds as much as they are corporate CEOs. The same mentality, philosophy, and strategy that drive corporate boardrooms also drive the boardrooms of modern churches--to a tee. Pastors act like CEOs, dress like CEOs, talk like CEOs, manage like CEOs, and think like CEOs.

Dare I say that even the way pastors and churches cater, and "reach out," and "minister," etc., has mostly to do with "good business." Church members are babied and pacified and stroked and petted and fawned-over because it is "good business." Today's Christians are so spoiled and petted that any dereliction or lack of attention by a pastor, church, or staff usually results in them "moving their letter" down the street to a place that will more readily cater to their temperamental demands.

Have you not noticed how most pastors spiritualize away the great examples of Bible heroism and defiance against tyranny and despotism? Ask them point blank about Daniel and the lion's den or the three Hebrew children in the burning fiery furnace or Queen Esther or scores and scores of other acts of defiance lauded in Holy Writ and they will say, "That was another time." Or, they might say, "This shows God's great deliverance and protection." But the overriding principle that drove the great heroes of the faith to challenge and defy evil government is never even acknowledged, much less addressed.

The great lesson of the above-mentioned heroes and heroines is not that God delivered them, because many of them were NOT delivered. As Paul notes in Hebrews 11: "Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance…And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented…they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in caves of the earth." (Hebrews 11:35-38 KJV). The great lesson of the above-mentioned heroes and heroines is their willingness to defy evil authority--regardless of outcome. Listen to the three Hebrew children:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden calf which thou hast set up. (Daniel 3:16-18 KJV)

These men knew that God COULD deliver them, but they did not know if He WOULD deliver them. And to them, it didn't matter: they were willing to defy the tyranny of King Nebuchadnezzar regardless. They were not going to bow to the unlawful, illegitimate authority of the state (in whatever form it appeared). That is the glaring lesson of every single one of these great stories of defiance.

Furthermore, most pastors and teachers absolutely refuse to tell the truth of Hebrews 11:34: "[They] waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." This Biblical passage lauds the courage of past believers who took up the sword against tyrants and despots. In the same breath that Paul extolled the sacrifice of believers who were willing to die for their faith, he also extolled the bravery of believers who were willing to fight for their faith. But you NEVER hear that from the vast majority of pastors today.

If you hear any mention of, say, America's Founding Fathers from today's pastors, it is that the founders were wrong, that they violated Romans 13, that God did not lead them to declare independence and revolt against the British Crown. Such is the ignorance and cowardice of today's ministers.

And while we are on the subject, the misinterpretation of Romans 13 is one of the chief reasons why most pastors and churches are so utterly indifferent or nonplussed about resisting evil government. This is why my son and I coauthored the book, "Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission." I encourage readers to get this book and share it with as many of your Christian friends as possible. In the book, Tim and prove from the entire Bible--including Romans 13--that nowhere does God expect (much less demand) believers to submit to evil, wicked authority.

Order the Romans 13 book here:

Tim (a constitutional attorney) and I coauthored a second book that is also relevant to this discussion. It is called, "To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns." This book searches the entire Bible and conclusively proves that self-defense is not only a God-ordained right; it is a God-ordained DUTY--and that Christians are totally justified in NOT surrendering their means of self-defense to any civil authority.

Order "To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns" here:

The fact is that all of these great Bible stories of lawful, God-ordained defiance of unjust authority are totally ignored by the vast majority of today's pastors and churches. None of these great Bible truths are made relevant to attempted acts of tyranny in today's America. None of them.
Again, it is all about success. To the average pastor, nothing is as anathema as controversy. And nothing is more controversial than politics. Therefore, pastors are taught to avoid politics like the plague. Of course, they won't tell you that the controversial nature of politics is the reason they avoid it; they will tell you that "God has not called me to get involved in politics," or, "I'm trying to build a church," or, "That's not our mission," or any number of other pious-sounding clichés. But the reality is they are trying to be successful, and they believe controversy hinders success.

That's also why you seldom, if ever, hear "hard" sermons from the modern pulpit--even though that is exactly the kind of sermons that Jesus Himself preached. (See John 6:60) To the success-driven, religious CEO, people must always feel good; they must be permanently ensconced in their comfort zone; and they must never be rebuked or informed of misconduct or irresponsibility. And as far as freedom goes, the shallowness of the average pulpit refuses to acknowledge the responsibility of the church to do anything to preserve it. All they talk about is praying for your political leaders and being good little subjects of the state.

Plus, don't forget most churches are up to their eyeballs in debt. Therefore, pastors are afraid if they offend people offerings will go down and they might not be able to pay for all of those fancy buildings and exorbitant staff--not to mention their own personal financial perks might be endangered.

And, yes, I must also add the 501(c) 3 non-profit tax-exempt status most churches operate under poses a serious intimidation against the pastor and church, which keeps them from taking a stand or speaking out on issues that might be construed as political.

But here is the bottom line: as long as Christians in the pews continue to attend and financially support these stand-for-nothing churches, the churches will continue to languish in their indifference. After all, by the attendance and offerings of all of these people in the pews, pastors are being continually convinced that everything they have been taught is working: their churches are successful.

The ONLY WAY Christians can start making a difference in their country is to GET OUT of these clueless, cowardly churches and find a pastor who is not afraid to be politically-incorrect, who is not afraid to preach and teach the Biblical principles of liberty, and who is not afraid to preach and teach the principles of righteous defiance against any act of tyranny. Find a pastor who is not trying to be successful. You don't need a successful pastor; you need a truthful pastor.

But this means that people in the pews must truly WANT to be in a church that takes a stand, doesn't it? We have the kind of pastors and churches that we are willing to support. If that's the case, Christians should stop complaining about the indifference of their pastors and simply accept the imminent slavery to which they are being led.
© Chuck Baldwin