Verse of the Day

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fifteenth 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 –

"[T]he propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained."
George Washington
First Inaugural Address, 1789

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Colossians 2:8

There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness.
George Washington
Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
Noah Webster
An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution
10 October 1787
Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
St. Mark 10:21

For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
St. Luke 21:15

Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Titus 1:15-16

When days of darkness come upon us, let us not count it a strange thing. Rather let us remember that lessons are learned on such days which would never have been learned in sunshine.
JC Ryle
19th century Anglican bishop and author
(Holiness, p. 123)

Satan seizes and directs all the mighty forces of this world! War is seized ... and is no longer the patriot’s struggle for freedom or the defense of home and native land. Instead, it becomes the tool of despotism; it crushes liberty and enslaves freedom. War carries on a campaign of lust, rape, cruelty, desolation, and death ... Money... is diverted by Satan for selfish and unholy purposes ... Men become illustrious and esteemed ... when they are money-getters and money- keepers. Education ... becomes a source of pride and ungodly power... Under the guise of Christian learning, education becomes the most powerful ally to Satan by unsettling faith in God’s Word and opening a wide door of skepticism in the temple of God.
Rev. EM Bounds
19th and 20th century theologian and author
(Guide to Spiritual Warfare, pp. 72-73)

Do not begin telling me that there is a metaphorical fire in hell. Who worries about that? If a man were to threaten to give me a metaphorical blow on the head, I should worry very little about it. He would be welcome to give me as many as he pleased. And what do the wicked say? ‘We do not worry about metaphorical fires.’ But they are real, sir, yes, as real as yourself.
Charles H. Spurgeon
19th century English pastor and author

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
Ronald Wilson Reagan
20th century American president.

And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival ... It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist ... The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are set at such an angle that they are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs. War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact. The very word “war”, therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist.
George Orwell
20th century English author
The Propers for today are found on Page 210-211, with the Collect first:

The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

EEP, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Dru Arnold read the Epistle, which came from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, the Sixth Chapter, beginning at the Eleventh Verse. Paul continues to warn us of the conflict in our lives between the things valued here on earth and those valued by the forces of heaven (God).  Writing to the Gentiles in Galatia, using to the rite of circumcision as a symbol for all of The Law, he warns, “As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.”  Those who are every eager to have you follow “The Law” themselves fail to follow its intent.  Paul goes on to say that Jesus’ new covenant transcends The Law and The Law no longer has hold over man.  For in Jesus there is salvation, may “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

E see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Hap Arnold read today’s Holy Gospel which was written in the Sixth Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, beginning at the Twenty-Fourth Verse. Jesus tells us, “No man can serve two masters …Ye cannot serve God and mammon[1].”  There is only one first place, only one can be in that place.  We either place God in first place or we put something else there.  If we wish riches in this world as the most important thing in our life, we place the things of this world in first place.  If we follow our Lord Jesus and His instruction, we place God in that first place.  But, what of this world?  “Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they?”  Jesus tells us not to worry, for worry is of no positive value.  When faced with a problem, we must do our best, not merely claim to do our best, and trust in God.  For, “which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life?” God knows we have need of the things of this world while we are in it, he knows we worry about, “What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?”  If we first seek “His kingdom, and His righteousness” He will take care of all our necessities.  But we must do as He asks, not merely say we are doing so.  If you follow God’s directions, you will be wealthy beyond description.  While you will never be “Bill Gates” rich, you will never lack what you need on this earth or in the world to come.

Jesus tells us, “Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  We are not to worry, but to our best and let the morrow come as it will.  We are to do our best, not merely say we are doing our best.  For if we truly do our best, then that is all that can be done and there is no point in worrying.

Using an earlier phrase, Trust in God and Dread Naught.

O man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

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, “… Keep … thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and … keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation …”

When the Collect talks about the church, it is not talking about buildings; it is talking about us.  Each of us; all of us.  We need God’s Mercy and Grace to keep us from desiring those things that are bad for us and help us to see we really want those things that are good for us.

Speaking of things, just like the Jewish based Christians of Paul’s time, it often seems like everyone has secret rituals, handshakes or hoops they want you to jump through to be really IN.  Paul reminds us that all fall short, and special fancy diets, days or outfits do not change us.  It is only by the Grace of God through our Lord Jesus that we find real salvation.  Our salvation is not based on the ritual, the handshake or even the slice of the circumcision scalpel.

Our salvation comes one way, by the Grace of God through our Lord Jesus.  It is not through us to decide the salvation, but by God through His Son, who died for our sins. We are not Cramerians, nor are we Calvinists or Lutherans, but we are Christians primarily, who like the ideas of Cramner, et al. We should never be idenitified as followers of man but of Christ and God. When one becomes a follower of man, he ends up following the devil in a fashion, for if we serve ourselves, or follow ourselves, we tend up to end up in death, but if we follow Him, we have the gift of life as St. Paul explains “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 KJV)

That brings us to Saint Matthew’s point, one cannot serve two masters.  Like that bad pun, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”  You cannot travel both paths.  We must choose who we will serve: God or the world.  If we chose God, that does not mean that we turn our back on the world around us, but rather that we interface with the world using the Rules of Engagement given to us by our Lord.  We prioritize our actions with Him first.  Our family motto; God • Honor • Country • Family is an example of this prioritization.  First things first.  Build from the inside out and the bottom up.  Do not mistake this motto for perfection, we have erred and strayed from our ways like every lost sheep, probably farther than most.  But we know which way is The Way and keep correcting back on course. 

Prioritization can be as a simple as coming home early on Saturday night so that you get a good night’s sleep and are ready for the Sunday church service.  It can be as complex as leaving a job that interferes with your honoring God, Country or Family.  First things first.

Through out the Bible we are exhorted to respect God, be honorable, work hard and take care of our families.  If we do these things, following God’s Will, our fiscal standing here on earth will be sound.  Follow these precepts, you will never be lacking, but you will never be inordinately wealthy, “Bill Gates rich” so to speak.  For to do that requires reprioritization to wealth in the first place.  Replacing allegiance to God with allegiance to wealth is a one way ticket to a destination you don’t want.

The last part of this reading is the one we often have the most trouble with.   We are far too ready to borrow trouble from tomorrow.  Every day, I pray at least twice for help with this.  It is getting better; I am confident on one thoughtful level that no good comes of worry, yet I have such a hard time acting on that thought.

God wants you to be happy; He knows what will make you happy.  God does not mind if you have fun along the way, but never pursue fun confusing it with happiness.  In the end, you won’t find either.

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

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

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

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

Sermon Notes
Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity
Saint Andrew’s
Anglican Orthodox Church
8 September 2013, Anno Domini

            Our Lord, in His Sermon on the Mount, teaches us a believer cannot be divided in his faith. He cannot travel the righteous path that is Narrow, and leads up to Heaven, and the wicked path called the Broad Way that leads down to destruction, at the same time. There remains before us, just as in the days of Noah’s Ark, an open door. It is an invitation to salvation. Whomsoever will may enter in by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no place in the Church of God for duplicity. If we so much desire to retain our old free will, than we shall also retain the consequences of our sins; but, if we surrender our wills to Christ, and accept His will for our lives, then shall our lives (thought, word, and deed) be directed from on high and not from the depths of Hell.

            As pointed out in the Prayer of Collect, our righteousness is not our own, but belongs to Christ. He covers us with His righteousness else we would fall miserably short of the mark. He sustains us moment by moment in the way that we should go; yet, He knows our frail frames and, as the Good Samaritan, finds us, heals us, provides us transport, and lodges us in the fair harbors of His love as we fail and flounder on the Way. His love and care are a perpetual love and care; and those things that we overcome by faith are profitable to our salvation.

            Paul, in his Epistle to the Galatians for today, warns against any labors of the hand to achieve salvation. It is not the good work we do by our hands that make us worthy of the family of God, but the work that Christ did on the cross – to satisfy the terms of the law on our behalf – that is edifying and efficacious for our salvation. Men will attempt to convince us to do all sorts of works, and comply with all kinds of formulas, to EARN salvation; but it cannot be. There is only One Way – the way of the cross of Christ. He paid it all!

            Just prior to the text today from the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus has taught us how to give alms – how to do, as well, our works of good – in secret so that our reward will be in heaven and not seen upon earth for self-gratification. If our gifts are to Heaven, they shall not be seen openly upon the earth; and if they are made openly to be seen on earth, they shall not grace the walls of Heaven. Our Lord also, in verses 5-15 of this same chapter, He teaches us how to pray. He also gives us the Lord’s Prayer that is to be prayed in communal worship (i.e. Our Father….), as well as private moments of devotion.  He gives us a rule for fasting so that we appear to the world not to fast. Our Father in Heaven knows every secret thing, and He cherishes those acts of righteousness that are performed for His own glory alone and not that of any man.

            So Jesus begins today by telling us that we cannot serve two masters. Since as masters has full authority over his subject, such a prospect of having two masters is logically impossible. 24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” God is not divided in His sovereignty – He is either the sovereign of our souls, or the flesh is that sovereign. It cannot be both ways. Our flesh is constantly warring to gain the ascendancy, but a firm reliance upon the sweet blessings and leading of the Holy Spirit will give the soul victory in the righteous Way. If we are obsessed with the false and dimming lights of the world, the greater and eternal Light of Heaven will be obscured just as it was to the Wise Men who were blinded to the Star of Bethlehem when they entered the dimly-lit gates of Jerusalem. Consider the matter logically: is it possible to go UP, and to go DOWN, at the same time? Is it possible to love God and His great enemy at once? Can you prize righteousness above all while harboring wicked thoughts in one’s heart?  Let our master be single, and let that Master be the sweet and loving Teacher of Galilee – the Lord Jesus Christ.

            Are we anxious of tomorrow? Who owns tomorrow? Is it not God Almighty? If He is your Lord, you need not worry of provisions for the day.  He has furnished our abode for our comfort and shelter, He has prepared the Bread of Heaven for our sustenance, and He has woven a white and silken Robe for our covering. What profit is in worrying? Will simple worry change any outcome in the slightest? Our Lord was driven into the Wilderness to suffer the trials and temptations of the devil. He went without food that we might be fed. He went without drink that we might have the full cup of His blessings. He vanquished the Devil in the Wilderness of this world. Why do we linger in longing looks back to that Wilderness of sin? 25 “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Is there not bread enough, and to spare, in my Father’s House? (Prodigal Son)  We have been invited to a sumptuous dinner at the House of the King. Shall we bring with us our stale and molding bread of the earth when He has prepared the finest cuisine of Heaven? Shall we lug along our waters from the poison fountain when He has provided the pure Water of Life for our health? Perish the thought!

            Jesus invites our attention to the provision God has made in nature for every creature thereof. Does He not provide for them? What is the source of nourishment to the young calf, the baby lamb, the frail, newborn pony? He has provided a means in nature for each of these to prosper in health and nutrition. It is an unbroken source of plenty. 26 “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” I often wonder where the sparrow goes when the clouds burst open in a deluge. They return in joy to the trees after the rain. Where did they hide from the tempest? They depended upon the protection and care of God unseen to our eyes. They do not worry about harvest and sowing, yet they prosper according to God’s perfect plan. A sparrow is of much less value to God than the crowning achievement of His Creation – Man. So why do we worry so that the provision will fail, and we shall perish for want of food, clothing, or shelter?

            We are created in the image of God. Why should we mar that image by tattooing our persons or, more importantly, our souls, with deviant marks and vulgar signs? Can we make ourselves larger than God has made us? Perhaps so if you consider immoderate diet and obesity to be growth. But God has made us to be like unto our Maker. Our only growth can take place when we grow more like Him by surrendering our free wills and taking upon ourselves the Mind and Will that is Christ’s. 27  “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”  Rather than enlarge ourselves by effort, we grow smaller. Only when we allow God to grow our hearts, minds and bodies may we grow in love and grace.

            Our world today is filled with stress and anxiety. Men’s hearts fail them for looking for the things coming upon the earth. Reason teaches us that 95% of those things that occupy our anxious minds in worry never come to pass. So the worry was only a ruse of the devil to distract our hearts and to shorten our lives. 28 “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” Lilies are beautiful beyond measure, yet, despite our art, the only lilies we can create are unloving ones. But God clothes them, not only with beauty, but with exuberant life! A dead body can be decorated with silken robes to no avail for it remains dead. But God clothes the Lily better than Solomon was able to clothe himself, and the life God gave the Lily is an innate characteristic of His grace to the smallest of creatures. The grass is giving raiment suitable for its living, yet, it has only a short span to run, and is trodden under foot, withers, and is blown away by the wind. Do you worry that the same God who provides for the sparrow, the Lily, and the grass of the fields cannot provide for you whose value far exceeds all these? The soul of man is eternal whether destined for Heaven or Hell, whereas sparrows, grass, and lilies exist only for the present as robes of beauty to cover the earth. Is our faith so small that we cannot acknowledge the care of God sufficient for our preservation?

            So what counsel does our Lord provide for our frailty and doubts? 31 “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” If the Christian son or daughter goes about worrying, just as do those who do not know God, of what advantage is there to being a son or daughter of God. Does a prince or princess concern themselves for their basic provisions in life? Is our Father, and King of Kings, not able to supply all things according to His “riches in glory?” Do we believe that God is unable to see our need? Perhaps we see only our DESIRES, but God sees our NEED!

            We need not concern ourselves with any worldly concerns if we place God first in all our thoughts, words, and deeds. If our priority in all things is God and His will, we will have no time left for worry and vain pursuits. Our Lord gives solution to all our problems with His concluding counsel for today’s text:

33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” To those of you who timidly subordinate your duties to God to your perceived obligations to the state and society, Jesus draws a clear line in the sand: We do not seek to please governments or society in politically correct philosophies, but GOD! His will is paramount over every earthly power be it the US Government, or any other government. We observe a hierarchy of government from God above every other government. In America, we have local, state and Federal laws. Does not the ultimate power predominate in law? And even in the Federal Government, we have a separation of powers that must be observed so that not entity has absolute power even at the Federal head. But God is the ultimate Law-Giver. His law takes precedence above every law of man. Too many believers today have bought into the lie of a separation of church and state. What does that mean? Does it mean that religious morality cannot influence the state, or even be mentioned in reference to it; or that the state can dictate every detail of religious faith. If the Christian faith is not the basis of government, then the government will intrude and be the arbiter of the Christian faith…simple as that! God will provide ALL that we need as long as we acknowledge Him above and beyond every other consideration.

There is great evil in our present day. We must address the enemy at hand rather than occupy ourselves with contemplated enemies that may arise tomorrow. The world is WICKED today. The only day we are assured in this life is TODAY. Go forth to battle that enemy of our souls that presents itself at the leading edge of battle and worry not of the enemy’s reinforcement for tomorrow. If we win the current battle, there will be no wickedness to reinforce. Fight today, and take in hand the new threat as it presents itself. God is with the valiant and true servant to fight his battles for him. Stand with God and no lesser power can approach. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

What are your priorities for today? Are your first awakening thoughts devoted to God and in seeking His will for you TODAY? Or do you give space in your heart to needless worries that steal the space in your heart that should be reserved to God? Do you seek after righteousness and let the results fall where they will? If you place your trust in the only One who can order not only your life, but your soul, you will be in good Hands for certain. Do not make your intentions of righteousness dependent upon tomorrow’s events. Do what is right, and God will see to the rest! He is the great Captain of your soul, not society, not Mammon, and not government. When you approach the White Throne at the conclusion of all time, will you concern yourself with rulings of the Supreme Court, or acts of Congress? You may trust me – they shall not present themselves at that Holy place.

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

The Church

This morning I would like for us to think for a little while about the Church--the meaning of the church, the significance of the Church, the purpose of the Church.

What is the Church?  What are the functions, the duties, of the Church?  What are the duties of the members of the Church?  What are the distinguishing marks of the true Church, its identifying characteristics by which it is recognized?  What is the relationship of the Church with the Son of God?  On what is the Church based?

When our Lord was on earth, there was no formal organization of the Church.  Our Lord made only two references to the Church recorded in Scripture.  One was on the occasion of St. Peter's confession at Caesarea Philippi when he said to Jesus, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God"; and Jesus replied to him, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."  And the other statement that He made was, "If your brother sin against you, tell it to the church."

What is the Church?  The word for "church" in the Greek language is "ecclesia" which translated means "the called out ones" or the "ones called together," called to follow Jesus.

It is interesting to note that when our Lord was on earth He did not found a church organization as such, except to appoint leaders for it, the Apostles.  With the Apostles as leaders, He founded a fellowship. He founded a fellowship of believers, of which He was the center.  He was its foundation, its leader, its life.  The early church was a small group of Christians, a community of believers, called out of the world to witness to Jesus with selected leaders, the twelve Apostles, selected by our Lord Himself.

And so the Church primarily is a fellowship of believers in Jesus, bound together by their faith in Jesus, bound together by and in the Spirit of God under the leadership of the ones chosen by Christ Himself.

The creeds tell us the Church through the ages has had, and still has, four chief distinguishing marks or characteristics.  These four chief distinguishing marks or characteristics of the historic Church came to be recognized during the first four hundred years of the Church's history.  We find them in our Apostles' and Nicene creeds.  We in the Anglican Orthodox Church claim these distinguishing marks for ourselves.  And we are the only church in the world that can.  These distinguishing marks of the Church tells us the Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.  Let us look at these distinguishing marks for a little bit.

First of all, the creeds tell us the Church is One.  The Church is one.   In the Offices of Instruction in the Prayer Book, we are told it is one body under one head.  It is one because it is united under one head, the Lord Jesus.  It looks to Him as Saviour and Redeemer.  We put our trust in Him as one Lord.  Since there is but one Christ Jesus, and since there is but one body of Christ's teaching, we are all of one mind and one heart as we accept Him, believe in Him, dwell in Him, and serve Him.  The true Church is the believing body of Christ in the world.  Wherever Jesus is accepted as the Son of God and Saviour, there is one of the distinguishing marks of the true Church.  The Church is one in Jesus.

Secondly, we say that the Church is Holy.  In the Offices of Instruction we are told that it is holy because the Holy Spirit dwells in it and sanctifies its members.  The true Church of Jesus considers itself to be a holy fellowship set apart from the world, to worship and to witness to the divine truths of God.  The Church is holy because Christ is holy, because God is holy, and God dwells in His Church in His Spirit and sanctifies it.  And the Church is made holy as it seeks communion with God through Jesus, and it is holy because God fills it with His Spirit of holiness on account of our faith in Jesus.  In the 19th Chapter of the Book of Leviticus, God spoke to Moses and said, "Ye shall be holy; for I, the Lord your God, am holy."  And again in the 10th chapter, speaking through Moses, He said, "By those near me I must be treated as holy, that I may reveal myself (through them) to the  people at large."  We are called to live in God's Spirit of Holiness, in order that the world around us may see something of His Holiness, and goodness, and glory, and may be drawn by Him.  We who are saved by Christ are called to be Holy to the Lord, to give ourselves to Him so that He may sanctify us with His Spirit of holiness and purity and infinite love and mercy.  St. John tells us in his first Epistle, "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God."  And God is holy, and He makes us Holy.

The third identifying mark of our Church is that it is catholic.  By catholic we mean universal, which is the basic meaning of the.  It means that the Gospel message which the Church proclaims is UNIVERSAL, for all men throughout all time.  It applies to everyone, everywhere, forever.  It does not mean that we are Roman Catholic, for we are more catholic than are the Roman Catholics.  The Roman Catholics have perverted Biblical truth with their errors and church traditions which they accept and teach contrary to Scripture and the teachings of Jesus.  As the Reformers said when the Church of England broke from Rome, "If it is not Scriptural, it is not catholic."  We are Scriptural, and therefore truly catholic.

All men are meant to be the children of the father; all men are sinners; and the saving grace and power made available by the life and death of our dear Lord is intended for them all, for Jesus died for every one.  St. Paul writing to St. Timothy said, "God will have all men to be saved," but in order to be saved, they must hear the Gospel message, they must repent, they must accept Jesus as their saviour, and follow Him and serve Him.

The Church is described as One, Holy, Catholic; and it is also Apostolic because, as the Prayer Book says, "It continues steadfastly in the Apostles' teaching and fellowship."  Our Church is descended from the Apostles of our Lord.  It is descended from them in its teach and its doctrine as well as from them personally by the "laying on of hands" from Bishop to Bishop, through the ages, through the centuries.  The consecrated bishops of our Church have received authority through an unbroken chain of consecrations that goes back to the Apostles themselves, begun when St. Matthias was consecrated by the Apostles to succeed the traitor, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed our Lord and went out and hanged himself.  We receive our ecclesiastical authority from the Apostles, who were sent forth into the world by Jesus, the Son of God.

The other bishops and I of this Church are burdened, therefore, with both the authority and responsibility from God, from Christ, and from the Apostles themselves to proclaim the ancient faith, to preserve Biblical morality, the moral law revealed in the Scriptures.  We are burdened with the responsibility and authority by our consecration vows to drive out of the Church "all erroneous and strange doctrine," heresy, and to drive out of it those in the Church who would destroy it, who would pervert the Church, its witness, its message of salvation, and its godly heritage.

The true Church of Christ has always been a fellowship bound together.  From its beginning it has been a fellowship bound closely together, bound by common ties and bonds.  The basic bond has been Jesus himself, His Spirit, His power, His love, His truth.  When we sense within us the overpowering truth manifested in His Life and death, utterly consecrated to God for us, committing Himself finally, in the Garden of Gethsemane to the excruciating agony on Calvary for us, then we surrender to Him; His utter devotion to God for us compels us to.

We are bound together also by the joy that we experience together in Jesus, by the joy that comes to those who delight in doing our Saviour's will.  They know that He loves them, and therefore they love Him, and one another.

We are bound together in the Church in our common faith.  St. Paul tells the saints in Galatia, "we are all the children of God on account of our faith in Jesus Christ."  We are bound together by our faith in God who has shown Himself to us in the Holy Trinity, as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.  In our Faith, we acknowledge one way of Salvation, the Way of the Cross, the Way of the Lamb slain for the sins of the world.  And we all look forward in one faith to the future glory that is to come, the glory of the coming Kingdom of Heaven, to the glory of the coming of Jesus, whom EVERYONE shall meet some day, face to face, some as their blessed Redeemer, and some as their implacable judge.

We who belong to the Church are bound together by a further bond; we are bound together by a common task.  We receive passed on to us the commission which our Lord gave to his disciples:  "Go ye into all the world and peach the gospel to every creature."  We to whom the grace has been given to belong to the body of Christ have as our solemn obligation and responsibility the task of spreading the Gospel message.  We must carry Christ's teaching to the frontiers, and there are frontiers everywhere; there are frontiers for Christianity in Asia and Africa, in Europe and in the Americas; there are frontiers here in the United States, especially here in the United States, here in our own state, here in Statesville or Rocky Mount or wherever we are.  There are frontiers for Christianity in our government, in our business lives, and in our home lives that call for the Spirit of Jesus; and there are frontiers also within our own selves.  Wherever the Spirit of God is found, and wherever Christians are found, there are frontiers for them to bring the Gospel message to, against the powers of ignorance and immorality, against plain laziness and indifference to Spiritual things, against hatred and malice in the hearts of people, even in indifference to Spiritual things, against hatred and malice in the hearts of people, even in many who consider themselves to be Christians, and even in me.  There are frontiers against the corrosive temptation of pharisaism--that a person is good enough to merit for himself of himself, the Kingdom of God.  We recall the Pharisee's remark, "God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are," and the publican's words, "God be merciful to me a sinner."  We remember words of St. John in his First Epistle, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."  We are bound together by a common task, the spreading of Christ's kingdom--at home and everywhere, and each one of us shares in this task.  Our task is to live and to give that the world may see something of Christ in us, and be drawn to Him, and find salvation.

It is the work of the Church also to serve the needs of man, as did our Lord.  We seek to feed those who are hungry for God as well as any deserving poor who may be hungry for food.  We seek to feed those who are lonely, who are hungry for Christian fellowship in which they may live joyfully, triumphantly in the Spirit of Jesus, in the Christian community, in the love of God.

We all have the common duty to live and to work, to pray and to witness day by day for the advancement of God's Kingdom.  But we cannot do this effectively by ourselves as individuals.  We can do it effectively only with the Spiritual help that comes from heaven, from God in Christian fellowship in His Church.  We can do it only with the moral and spiritual support that we give to one another in Christian fellowship.  Truly our help and strength for living the spiritual life come from God; and He gives this to us as we worship Him together in mutual love and forbearance in the Name of Jesus.  Both the Bible and Prayer Book tell us this plainly:  we can do no good things of ourselves.  We seek to build God's Kingdom here and now, both in the world and within our own hearts; and as we seek to build, we must do it together, bowing down before Him and offering ourselves to Him, a holy sacrifice to His Glory together.

We who believe in Jesus, and who love Him and who love one another, are God's children now, saved, redeemed by His blood.  We know the joy of walking with Him, serving Him, and we worship Him -- faithfully, gladly, by His grace.  And we pray that our lives may show, through our words, and through our deeds, and through the Spirit of the love of God in us, that we are in communion with our heavenly Father--working and worshipping in God's House, and at work and at home, seeking to manifest something of the love of God, that fills our hearts with joy.  We would live so that the world may see a bit of Christ Jesus in us and be drawn to him.  We would seek to be apprehended by the holiness of God and, listening to his voice, do his will.  God speaks to his children; He gives to us His laws, His ethics of perfection which no man can live up to, and He tells us of His mercy and forgiveness available to us through the blessed Cross!

But we cannot, we must not, we dare not, stop with concern for ourselves.  We must lead others to Jesus, or die ourselves stagnated.  We would lead people to pray as our Saviour led men to pray; our lives must be incentives to others to seek a living relationship with God through His Son.  As we go about during the week, we should rejoice in witnessing as a member of God's true Church, redeemed by the blood shed on Calvary, a member of a holy fellowship.  We must be conscious of the fact that we are witnesses day by day of the Faith we profess--the Christian Faith, the Hope of the World.

The faithful ones in the Church, who are committed to doing His will are the redeemed children of the Lamb, the Lamb of God slain on the Cross for the sins of the world.  And we in the Church look forward confidently, full of hope and assurance, for the continual coming of the Kingdom of the Spirit of God into our own lives now, and we look forward to the fullness of joy that shall be ours, in communion with all His saints, with all of our loved ones in Heaven, forever, some day.

And so the Church is Christ's body--the whole Church--Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Laity - all of us.  The whole membership of the Church is Christ's body of believers, and all of us are responsible to Him--made free in Him, made free by Him.  We are the members of the one Body of which Jesus Christ is the Head:

God is our Father,
Christ is our Saviour,
The Holy Ghost is our sanctifier, keeper, life.

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 Glory
Psalm 130, Galatians 6:11-17, Matthew 6:24-34
Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity
September 8, 2013

The heart of today’s message is found in Galatians 6:14; “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Why only glory in Christ?  First let’s talk about what it means to glory.  It is-to boast in or count on something to give you standing and respect among others.  It is to consider something as earning your place in a community or organisation, as making you worthy of acceptance, honour, or elevated status and privilege.

Paul is specifically talking about something that earns a place for us in Heaven, a place for us in that great Mansion of Mansions and at the great marriage feast of the Lamb.  He is talking about something we can glory in because it makes us worthy of the honours of Heaven.

Then why not glory in our good works?  Why not trust them to earn our place with God?  Let me give two good reasons.  First good works cannot cancel our sins.  Yes, you are a sinner.  We read the Ten Commandments at the very beginning of the service this morning.  They are God’s standards for your life.  They are what God requires of you.  They are God’s will for your life.  Every time you break one you commit a crime against the Great King and Ruler of all things.  And, as we saw in our evening readings in the Gospel of Matthew last week, it is not enough to keep the letter of the law.  God requires that we keep the spirit of the law also, and that we keep it perfectly.  Who among us will claim to have done that?  Are we not all rather able to say with the Apostle Paul, “all have sinned,” and with the publican, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner?”  In a short while, just moments before we come to the Communion Rail, we will pray in unison a prayer called the “General Confession.”  We will pray it aloud, in an audible voice, for all to hear.  If you are physically able, kneel before God and pray it on your knees, and say with the rest of us sinners; “Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty.”  Confess to God, and all humanity that you have sinned against God.  But first, confess it to yourself.  You have sinned, and do not deserve the good things God has blessed you with.  You have sinned, and have not earned Haven by your good deeds, but Hell by your sins.  Glory not in your works, no matter how good they may seem to you and other people, to Christ they are filthy rags.  Glory not in them.  Glory in Christ who bore your sins and died for them on the cross.

Second, glory not in your own works because even your best works are tarnished and tainted by sin.  What is the very best, most honorable thing you have ever done?  Think of it for a moment.  Now compare it to the absolute, perfect goodness of Christ.  Does not His perfection reveal the flaws and cracks even in your very best deed?  It is hard to imagine, but the sun in our solar system has dark spots on it.  Its light is uneven.  Think of light as a symbol for moral perfection, and listen to these words. From 1 John 1:5. “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”  Now listen to the words of James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”  Both of these verses are saying God is absolute perfect light, meaning moral and personal perfection.  He has every attribute of goodness.   He is wisdom, justice, truth, love, knowledge, mercy, and He is all of these things in perfection.  There is no variation in his perfection; there is no shadow or turning in Him, forever.   So even what we consider to be our very best and most righteous deeds and attributes are really just filthy rags compared to the absolute perfect goodness of God.  None of our works measure up to the standard of His perfection, and what ever does not measure up cannot earn us a place in Heaven.  In fact, it disqualifies us.  We may think water that is guaranteed 99.99%pure is good enough for us, but God only accepts people who are 100% pure

Why not trust religion?  Why not trust going to church and doing all the religious things?  That’s what Paul’s detractors trusted, and they claimed that was all anyone needed to please God.  “Become a Jew and keep all the ceremonies and sacrifices, they claimed,” and you will be right with God.  To them, circumcision symbolized all the rituals and ceremonies.

But time after time God makes the point that the ceremonies without the heart are anathema to Him.  He said to Israel, “this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me” (Is. 29:13).  “I delight not in the blood of bullocks and goats.”  “Bring me no more vain oblations… the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies… it is iniquity.”  Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them” (cf. Is. 1:10).  Anyone can sacrifice a lamb.  Anyone can say a prayer.  Anyone can eat the Passover meal.  And you can do these things with no real love or concern for God.  But God hates it if your heart is not in it.

To put this in modern terms we might say anyone can come to church.  Anyone can get a little water on them.  Anyone can receive a little bread and wine.  But going to church is not necessarily the same as worshiping God.  Getting wet is not necessarily the same as being baptized.  Eating a communion wafer and taking a sip of wine is not necessarily the same as receiving Holy Communion.  Performing the outer actions without meaning them in your heart does not please God.  They insult Him.  They express the idea that God is so stupid He can be appeased by a few insincere words and rituals.  They express the idea that God is not important enough to care about Him or mean what you say to Him.  And God is rightly .insulted by such arrogance.  Hear what He says about those who receive communion without really seeking God in Biblical faith; “he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself.”  Strong words; words that make us want to examine our selves before we come to the Lord’s Table.

Therefore, our glory is in Christ alone.  It is not in what we have done, but in what He has done.  He came to earth and lived as a man, without special treatment.  He suffered all the sorrows and temptations of life, but sinned not.  And finally, He went to the cross bearing our sins in Himself and paying the price of our forgiveness.  This is what the Lord’s Supper is all about.  As we gather here today we gather in memory of Him, and that great sacrifice that made us right with God.  He alone could do it.  My own actions have caused only wrath and condemnation.  His have caused peace and restoration.  God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
+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.

Two Masters?

In this morning’s Gospel reading we hear Jesus touching on many different subjects.  Jesus reminds us of a universal truth.  You can only have ONE master, if think you have two, one will take the primary position in the end; no one can be successful in serving two masters.

You must make a choice: God or Satan.

Satan?  He has many names, The Prince of this World comes to mind.

If you choose to serve Jesus, you must put Him first in everything.

Jesus tells us: Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  Mammon is a Chaldee or Syriac word meaning "wealth" or "riches"; also, by personification, the god of riches.

We like to think of money as our servant, something that will work for us.  We think money gives us security, status, comfort, and power.  After all, money is my servant isn’t it?  Money makes me a master doesn’t it?’  No it does not.  Whenever we put our trust in money to save us, we follow money into slavery, and it becomes our God, as does anything we put ahead of our Lord.

Jesus also taught us in St. Matthew’s Gospel:  21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21

Then He tells us: But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. The Lord knows most of His people spend the majority of their lives toiling for food, clothing, housing and the basic essentials of this physical life. He draws a comparison with this effort of providing the necessities of life to the necessity of putting forth an even greater effort to obtain the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

Remember, all God ever asks is that we do our very best.  But that is to do it, not just to say we are doing it.

How does your effort compare to your Lord's instruction?

What is the most important thing in your life TODAY?  Are you doing all you can do to find the kingdom of God and his righteousness?  We are here today, and that is a start in the right direction. But, it will take more than attending worship services, to enter into the kingdom that the Lord has provided for us.

It is the Holy Spirit who convicts you of sin. It is the Holy Spirit who convinces you to repent of sin. It is the Holy Spirit who teaches you how to break free from the bondage of sin. As you obey the Holy Spirit He teaches you to live holy. That is why He is the Holy Spirit. He is Holy.  He leads to holiness.   Holiness is a separation from the things of this world.  Sin is a separation from God.  Two separations, one good, one bad.

You don't find peace by committing sin. Sin brings grief and heartache. Right doing brings peace.

The Holy Spirit inspires and empowers you to live right. You can have this kingdom of peace within you by repenting of sin and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

John the Baptist and Jesus told us in: Matthew’s Gospel  3:1-2 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judæa, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Both John and our Lord began their ministries with the message that the kingdom of God was at hand and the way to get into it was to repent.

Jesus told us in: Luke’s Gospel:  16:16  16 The law and the prophets were until John (the Baptist): since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.  Matthew 12:28 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16  Jesus’ one sacrifice, one time, for all mankind, for all time to account us as perfect has made the Kingdom of God available to us.

Yes, we are eligible for entry into the kingdom of God. That is, we who have repented of our sins, and have received Christ as our Lord and Saviour, have received it.

Now, we need to continue to serve God with reverence and godly fear. God is our heavenly father and we honor Him as such. He loves us and we love Him because He first loved us. He has provided us with this wonderful Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.

God is calling you today unto His kingdom. The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom. It is an experience of complete salvation that enables you to live a more righteous life in this present world. Everyone is invited.

The kingdom is being preached and every one that wants to can press into it today.

The kingdom of God is not a kingdom of this world. It is a spiritual kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

You too can receive this wonderful deliverance from sin and obtain everlasting life, by repenting of your sins and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

You will then receive the peace that passes all understanding, which will enable you to serve only one master, the one true God of the world.

To the only wise God our Saviour be glory and majesty, dominion and power.; both now and ever. 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.

Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

In our epistle lesson for today, the apostle Paul penned the thoughts of God regarding the quest for riches when wrote, But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (I St. Timothy 6:9-10). It is one thing to earn a living in order to care and provide for oneself and one’s family; but it is an entirely different thing to pursue wealth — riches — for the sole purpose of gratifying the lusts of the flesh.

Years ago when I was teaching school, one of my students — who was a comedian — engaged in a humorous play on words regarding “money and power” which I will paraphrase: “Mr. Dabney, I have the two things which most people want: money and power.” In the process of enunciating those two points, he opened his hands to reveal a quarter in one and a AA battery in the other. In reality, he was making light of an actual problem within our society and our world. The quest for wealth and power has driven more people into a state of existence that is the polar of opposite of what they had in mind when they set out to secure for themselves those things.

Look at what great wealth did to King Solomon. God gave him more than he could have ever desired but this led him into vanity and pridefulness (I Kings 10:24-29; 11:1-13). Look at what the power and wealth of King David did for him. Was it not in his idle moments that he spied his subordinate’s wife bathing and took her for himself even going so far as to have that man killed in battle (II Samuel 11:1-27; 12:1-23)?

Great wealth can produce a state of mind which elevates the possessor’s opinion of himself so that he or she then becomes the author of those good things rather than a recipient of them. Instead of giving credit to God, these will take the credit for themselves. They will mark it off to good fortune or luck, or maybe even to their own acumen, but they will not mention him who made it all possible: the God of all creation.

Consider the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt and, and where thieves break in and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven ... for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (St. Matthew 6:19-21). And in another place our Lord spoke about the garnering of wealth without giving God any consideration when he said, Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth (St. Luke 12:15).

The Rev. Matthew Henry once noted concerning this passage that, “Covetousness is a sin which we have constant need to watch against, and therefore frequently to be warned against. Our happiness and comfort do not depend upon our having a great deal of wealth of this world. The things of this world will not suit the nature of a soul, nor supply its needs, nor satisfy its desires. Many who have abundance are discontented and fretful, and then what good does their abundance do them?” How true to the mark was Rev. Henry’s comment. The pursuit of wealth and power will lead a person inevitably into the pit of perdition as the apostle Paul so noted, But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

The parable of the rich fool is another example of how wealth-for-wealth’s- sake will result in separation from God and his kingdom. Our Lord told this parable because a certain fellow had come to him desiring his help in acquiring wealth from a family member (St. Luke 12:13-21). Via this simple story, our Lord informed us that those whose sole purpose in life is to selfishly gather unto themselves have become fools in God’s eyes. As Matthew Henry observed, “Carnal people are fools, and the day is coming when God will call them by their own name, and they will call themselves so ... The great absurdity which the children of this world are guilty of is that they portion their souls in the wealth of the world and the pleasure of sense.” How much sorrow there will be in the day of judgment for those who had made their life’s work about nothing more than acquiring and holding great wealth and power to satisfy their lusts. Where will their riches be then? Are they able to pay God for the cost of their lives (Psalm 49:1-20)?

This life is tenuous and temporary. And as we do not know the hour of our deaths, the thoughtful Christian will prepare himself to meet the Lord at any time. In our prayer book on page 591, there is a portion of Evening Family Prayer which states in part, “. . . And grant us grace always to live in such a state that we may never be afraid to die; so that, living and dying, we may be thine, through the merits and satisfaction of thy Son Christ Jesus . . .” How many fellow Christians cannot in all honesty pray this prayer because they are so unprepared to meet the Lord if he came for them at this moment? And what about the untold millions of the unregenerated who care nothing for God and his Christ and who daily live as if there is no tomorrow? No doubt, when God comes for them, they will have no further opportunities to turn and repent. And all their pleas at the great white throne judgment will not be accepted.

In his sermon entitled Sinners in the hands of an angry God, New England pastor Jonathan Edwards noted that, “God has laid himself under no obligation, by any promise to keep any natural man out of hell one moment ... So that, whatever some have imagined and pretended about promises made to natural men’s earnest seeking and knocking, it is plain and manifest, that whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes, till he believes in Christ, God is under no manner of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction.”

The Rev. Dr. D. James Kennedy once noted that, “If the Bible teaches anything at all, it is that there is an everlasting too late — that there will come a moment when it will be eternally too late, when the door of grace will have slammed shut forever. Then the sinner would give the universe itself for just one minute to repent and turn to Jesus Christ.” The selfish and the arrogant, as well as the idolater and the sensual will all have their place in the lake of fire because they refused to recognize the true nature of God and receive his gift of grace in Christ.

Nebuchadnezzar once praised himself for all that he had built and labored to perform as if he had done everything on his own and without any assistance and blessing from God. Daniel recorded the king’s own words regarding his works: Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it was spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men ... (Daniel 4:30-32).

Later, after his senses had been returned to him, the king related, And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou (Daniel 4:34-35)?

Nebuchadnezzar did indeed receive his kingdom back from the LORD after which he added this final word, Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase (v.37). It is clear from Daniel 4 that Nebuchadnezzar was disciplined of God and he later recognized the error of his ways. He came to see that his life, as well as that of all mortals upon this earth, was in the hands of the LORD and that everything he had received came from God and God alone. He understood that all self-aggrandizement was worthless and led to misery and heartache. He was blessed in that God only disciplined him and did not totally cast him away. He was abased before God and in his recognition of his sin, he was lifted up. In the parable of the Pharisee and the publican, our Lord affirmed the same when he said, ... for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (St. Luke 18:14).

Power and wealth tend to corrupt even the best of mortals as we have seen. The idea that a person managed to obtain riches and authority can lead one into the erroneous belief that said person got them of their own accord. God gives to each person as he wills. If one has great wealth and power it is because God permitted that person to possess such. The selfish tendencies of unregenerate mankind will not give God the glory and praise for his gifts. That is why the apostle Paul was given to pen the words of our lesson today: But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (I St. Timothy 6:9-10).

So should we not pray for resources to help us in our daily lives? Is it wrong to desire to have a decent income and enjoy the pleasures that can be derived from such? Again, consider the words of the apostle Paul who explained, But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition (I St. Timothy 6:6-9). While he called upon every Christian to, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6); we must not permit our requests to be for the wrong things. We must not ask amiss (St. James 4:3).

We close our services of Morning and Evening Prayer with “A Prayer of St. Chrysostom” wherein we ask God to, “Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen.” When we ask God to grant to us what is “expedient” we are leaving it to him to decide what is good for us and to supply us the same. So, any thing we ask of God ought to be framed in that manner. And whatever we receive, we ought to give God the glory and praise in thanksgiving for what he has done.

We all liked to be thanked when we do things for others and the same is true for our Lord. Giving thanks and praise to God for his gifts should be on our minds at all times. We should have constant thoughts of God’s hand in our lives along with constant thoughts of thanks for his presence with us and in us via the Holy Ghost.

The quest for wealth and power is not sanctioned by the Godhead. Those who would set out to carve out a name for themselves at the expense of others in order to garner riches, fame and power will be likened unto those who make elegant castles of sand on the seashore. Until the tide comes in, they are intact and may even be impressive to look at. But when the tide comes in, they disappear as if they had never been there at all. Let us not place our faith in the uncertainty of riches but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy . . . (I St. Timothy 6:17).

Let us pray,

Ather, keep us from the desire to serve mammon and not thee; and that in all our prayers and petitions we would ask for those things that are expedient and of good report; for this we ask in the name of him who gave us the gift of eternal life via his once offering of himself for us, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+

Why are we (the AOC) in communion with the Greater Anglican Communion?
By greater, that would be the group of Anglicans centered on the “mother” church, the Church of England, from which Anglicanism derives its name?  The answer in short, that is the Executive Summary, is that the members of the Greater Anglican Communion are no longer Christians.  For details, read Fifty Years of Anglican Liberalism – 5 September 2013:

The worldwide Anglican Communion is composed of some 77 million Anglicans in 164 countries, including the mother church, the Church of England, and the Episcopal Church in America. It is permeated with theological liberalism at every level.

Consider some examples:

In 1953, Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple, in his book Nature and God, said, ... There is no such thing as revealed truth.

In 1960, Episcopalian Bishop James Pike said the doctrine of the Trinity is outdated, incomprehensible and nonessential (The Christian Century, Dec. 21, 1960). (Billy Graham was a guest at Pikes ordination on May 15, 1958 and praised the liberal bishop in glowing terms. Nine days later, Graham invited Pike to sit on the platform during his evangelistic crusade in San Francisco and had him lead in prayer. On Dec. 4, 1960, Graham spoke in Pike’s pulpit at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.)

In 1961, Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey said, ... Heaven is not a place for Christians only. ... I expect to see many present day atheists there (London Daily Mail, Oct. 2, 1961). That same year, Bishop James Pike called the virgin birth of Christ a primitive myth and said that Joseph was probably Jesus real father (Redbook magazine, August 1961). He also said that Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, heaven, and hell are myths. (Billy Graham invited Ramsey to the platform during his 1975 crusade in Brazil and allowed him to speak to the crowd. Fundamental Evangelistic Association News & Views, May-June 1975)

In 1963, Episcopal theologian Paul van Buren started the God-is-dead movement with the publication of his book The Secular Meaning of the Gospel. That same year, Anglican Bishop John Robinson said in his book Honest to God, The whole scheme of a supernatural being coming down from heaven to save mankind from sin ... Is frankly incredible to man come of age.

In 1967, after heresy charges were brought against Bishop James Pike, the Episcopal Church in America adopted a resolution declaring that all heresy was out of date. That year, Canon Hugh Montifiore of Cambridge Universitys main church said, Jesus might have been a homosexual (Christianity Today, Aug. 18, 1967). (Montifiore was the advisor for the Cambridge Billy Graham Television Crusade.)

In 1968, the Church of Englands Lambeth Conference voted that Anglican clergy are no longer required to agree to the denominations 39 articles of faith.

In 1976, John Spong was ordained as the bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Newark, New Jersey, even though he denied practically every doctrine of the Christian faith.

In 1977, Bishop Paul Moore of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City ordained lesbian Ellen Barrett as a priest. Barrett told Time magazine that her lesbian love affairs gave her the strength to serve God.

In 1978, Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said the Holy Spirit shined through Mahatma Gandhi, who is a Hindu (St. Albans Cathedral, Pretoria, South Africa, Nov. 23, 1978).

In 1980, Tutu said, It may be that Jesus was an illegitimate son (Cape Times, Oct. 24, 1980).

In 1982, Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie said he was an agnostic as to why Jesus suffered on the cross (Sunday Times Weekly Review, London, April 11, 1982). That same year, Episcopal Bishop John Spong, writing in the Christian Century (Jan. 6-13, 1982), condemned traditional evangelistic and missionary endeavors and said that biblical absolutism is a vice. (Billy Graham was one of the honored guests at Runcies ordination in March 1980, and Graham spoke highly of the liberal archbishop during his evangelistic crusades in England in 1984 and 1989.)

In 1984, David Jenkins, Anglican Bishop of Durham, described Christs resurrection as a conjuring trick with bones (English Bishop Calls Christs Resurrection Conjuring Trick, AP, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Oct. 28, 1984). Jenkins also said, The Christian is not bound up with freak biology or corpses getting up and walking around and You don't have to believe in the virgin birth. (On July 9, 1984, three days after Jenkins was consecrated bishop, lightning struck his cathedral and caused extensive damage. A spokesman for the fire brigade said that though the roof was fully wired with lightning rods, none of them worked that morning; the smoke detectors in the ceiling did not go off, even though they were tested only a month before; and there was no thunder accompanying the lightning. EP News Service, Dec. 21, 1984).

In 1984, the Associated Press reported that only 20 of 31 Church of England bishops polled insisted that Christians must accept Jesus as both God and man.

In 1985, the Jesus Seminar was founded with the help of Episcopalians, including Marcus Borg of Oregon State University. The Seminar claims that Jesus spoke only about 20% of the things attributed to him in the New Testament and that the Jesus described in the Bible is largely a fiction. They claim he wasnt born of a virgin, didnt walk on the water, didnt rise bodily from the dead, and had no intention of starting a new Christian religion. They also claim that there was no Jewish trial of Jesus before the crucifixion and the Jewish crowd did not participate in his condemnation.

When Edmond Lee Browning was elected presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in September 1985, he made it clear that he disagrees with the churchs official opposition to the ordination of practicing homosexuals (Religious News Service, Sept. 11, 1985). He stated, I would sincerely hope the Episcopal Church can say that there are no outcasts, but embrace all people and all cultures. He was one of 20 bishops who signed a 1979 statement calling the churchs position on gays a cruel denial of the sexual being of homosexual persons and a condemnatory judgment that made them second-class citizens in the church.

In 1986, Anglican Bishop David Jenkins got a standing ovation from the general synod of the Church of England when he defended his doubts about the virgin birth and bodily resurrection of Christ (Associated Press, July 7, 1986). Jenkins called the God of the Bible a cultic idol (Ecumenical Press Service, July 16-21, 1986).

In 1987, a panel of seven Episcopal bishops dismissed heresy charges against Bishop John Spong.

In 1988, Spong published his book Living in Sin: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality. He said, The time has surely come not just to tolerate, or even to accept, but to celebrate and welcome the presence among us of our gay and lesbian fellow human beings (p. 199). That year Spong visited a Buddhist temple and said, As the smell of incense filled the air, I knelt before three images of the Buddha, feeling that the smoke could carry my prayers heavenward. It was for me a holy moment for I was certain that I was kneeling on holy ground (A Dialogue in a Buddhist Temple, John Spong, The Voice, Jan. 1989).

In January 1989, a committee composed of five Episcopal bishops unanimously dismissed a second set of heresy charges that had been brought against Bishop John Spong. Toward the end of that year, Spong ordained the first openly practicing homosexual to the Episcopal priesthood. The man, Robert Williams, was diagnosed with AIDS less than two years later.

According to Integrity, a pro-homosexual Episcopal group, at least 50 practicing homosexuals had been ordained to the priesthood by 1991.

In November 1991, John Spong conducted a seminar in Bangor, Pennsylvania, entitled Exorcising Fundamentalism, Sexual Phobias and Other Demons.

In 1993, a survey of nearly 20,000 Episcopalians showed that seventy percent believed faithful Christians can be sexually active gays and lesbians (Christian News, Nov. 1, 1993). Seventy-five percent approved of living with someone of the opposite sex without marriage.

In 1994, it was reported by the Sunday Times (July 31) in London that at least 100 Anglican priests are atheists who do not believe in an external, supernatural God.

In 1996, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey lashed out at fundamentalists who place the Bible above and beyond human inquiry (Christian News, Dec. 9, 1996). That same year, the doctrinal commission of the Church of England said hell is not a place of fire and eternal torment. And Episcopal Bishop John Spong wrote in his paper that the image of God in the Bible is no longer operative (ENI, Dec. 6, 1996).

In 1997, a survey found that 31% of Anglican vicars in England do not believe in the virgin birth (Alliance Life, March 12, 1997). Actually that figure would probably have been much higher had the survey attempted to discover the number of vicars who believe in the virgin birth only in a figurative manner.

In his 1991 book Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Episcopal Bishop John Spong said the apostle Paul was a self hating, repressed homosexual. That year, Spong ordained another homosexual priest, Barry Stopfel. Lesbian Episcopal priest Carter Heyward delivered the ordination sermon. When Stopfels male lover was introduced, the audience applauded.

In 1998 Episcopalian Bishop John Spong said, I would choose to loathe rather than to worship a deity who required the sacrifice of his son (Christianity Today, June 15, 1998). That same year, retiring Episcopal Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning said, It is time to move past using literalistic readings of the Bible to create prejudices against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters (Calvary Contender, May 1, 1998).

In 2002, Richard Harries, Anglican Bishop of Oxford, said Christians should pray to God the Mother (The Times, Nov. 3, 2002). That same year, retired Bishop Spong proposed a new Christianity, which must be able to incorporate all of our reality. It must be able to allow God and Satan to come together in each of us. ... It must unite Christ with Antichrist, Jesus with Judas, male with female, heterosexual with homosexual (World, July 8, 2002).

In April 2003, Episcopalian bishop Charles Bennison said that Jesus Christ was a sinner (Worthy News, April 14, 2003).

On June 7, 2003, the Diocese of New Hampshire elected the first openly homosexual bishop in the history of the Episcopal Church USA. The election was confirmed on August 5 by the General Convention meeting in Minneapolis. Thirteen years ago the newly elected bishop, V. Gene Robinson, broke his marriage vows when he left his wife and two young daughters and moved in with his male partner, Mark Andrew. In a speech in April 29, 2000, the day before a homosexual march in Washington, D.C., Robinson said: ... we are worthy to hold our heads high as gay folk--NOT because weve merely decided we are worthy, but because God has proclaimed it so. That we are loved beyond our wildest imagining by a God who made us the way we are and proclaimed it good. We proclaim today that we too read our Bibles, and through the voices of its many witnesses, we hear Gods voice--NOT saying You are an abomination, but rather, You are my beloved. We lay an equal claim to a savior who loves us as we are and who died to save us from our manifold sins and wickedness, which does NOT include our being gay. And we come here today, laying claim to our full membership--our FULL membership--in the Body of Christ.

In June 2006, the national convention of the Episcopal Church in America voted overwhelmingly against a resolution stating an unchanging commitment to Jesus Christ as the son of God, the only name by which any person may be saved. More than seven tenths of the House of Deputies rejected the motion. One of those who voted against the resolution, a Rev. McDowell of North Carolina, told VirtueOnline that how one lives his life is the more important issue than whether one affirms Jesus as Lord and stated his conviction that all men are already children of God.

The 2006 Episcopal convention was the one that elected the ultra-liberal Katharine Jefferts Schori to be the presiding bishop for a nine-year term. In her first sermon in that capacity she referred to our mother Jesus, claiming that he gave birth to a new creation on the cross and implying that all are his children. Later she told the Washington Post that those who believe that the words of the Bible have only one possible interpretation are guilty of idolatry. She said, Im encouraging people to look beyond their favorite understandings (Douglas LeBlanc, Two Minds in One Episcopal Body, Christian Research Journal, vol. 29, no. 5, 2006).

At the same convention, Louie Crew and some other voting representatives (called deputies) referred to the Holy Spirit as she. The homosexual bishop Gene Robinson said the Holy Spirit is that part of God that refuses to be confined and contained in the little boxes we have for God (Two Minds in One Episcopal Body, Christian Research Journal, vol. 29, no. 5, 2006). He said, further, We dont worship a God who is all locked up in the Scripture of 2,000 years ago. He quoted John Fortunato, a homosexual author who claims that God visited him and confirmed that homosexuality is fine if it is loving. He said, God smiled and said quietly, How can loving be wrong? All love comes from me.

On September 14, 2008, the Church of England officially apologized to Charles Darwin for rejecting his theory of evolution. It said: Charles Darwin, 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still (Church Makes Ludicrous Apology, The Daily Mail, Sept. 13, 2008). The statement was written by Malcolm Brown, who sits on the Archbishops Council, the Church of Englands managing body, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Rowan Williams). Its argument that the theory of evolution is not incompatible with Christian teaching is patently ridiculous. The Bible plainly says that the world was created by God in six days, that the plant and animal life was made to reproduce after its own kind, that man was made in Gods image, that he sinned against God, and that the world was cast into fallen chaos. This fits perfectly with the condition that we see in the world today as well as the archaeological and geological records. If there was no divine creation, if man is a product of evolution, then Genesis is a myth, the fall is a fable, there is no purpose to life, no afterlife, and no salvation. If the account of Adam is a legend, then Jesus Christs apostles were deceived and the gospel they preached a delusion, because they mentioned Adam seven times in their writings, describing him always as a historical figure.

On May 16, 2009, the bells of the Anglican Cathedral of Liverpool pealed out John Lennons atheistic song Imagine three times on May 16. A spokesperson for the cathedral said, We feel this performance has inspired many people to think about their relationship with God in their lives (Imagine That, The Daily Mail, May 17, 2009). Indeed, as we have seen, many members of the Anglican Church have no problem imagining with Lennon that there is no heaven or hell. John Lennon was anti-christ. His book A Spaniard in the Works portrayed Jesus as El Pifico, a garlic eating, stinking little yellow, greasy fascist ****** Catholic Spaniard. In this wicked book, Lennon further blasphemed the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the song I Found Out, Lennon sang, There aint no Jesus gonna come from the sky, and in his song God, he said, I dont believe in Bible. I dont believe in Jesus. I just believe in me. In an interview with a British newspaper Lennon defined God in these words: All the energy is God. Your own energy and their energy, whether doing god-like things or ungodly things (The Daily Sketch, Oct. 9, 1967). Lennon and Yoko Ono were heavily involved in occultism. The books Hellhounds on Their Trail by Gary Patterson, Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon by Robert Rosen, and Lennon in America by Geoffrey Giuliano describe how the Lennons purchased entire sections of occult literature in bookstores, consulted tarot cards, astrologers, and psychics, learned how to cast spells, sought magical power from Egyptian artifacts, and believed in reincarnation.

Following a vote in May 2009 by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to approve the appointment of a homosexual pastor, Desmond Tutu, Anglican Bishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, voiced his approval saying that churches should not be discussing who goes to bed with whom (Desmond Tutu Endorses Homosexual Ministers,, May 29, 2009). The homosexual pastor, Scott Rennie, was ordained the pastor of Queens Cross Church in Aberdeen in 2008, but his appointment was protested and brought before the denominations ruling body. Like Vickie Gene Robinson, who was ordained a bishop in the Episcopal Church of America in 2003, Rennie divorced his wife to live carnally with a man. This is a double sin. First, there is the sin of breaking ones solemn marriage vows before Almighty God. Second, there is the sin of sodomy. Yet these men are so spiritually blind that they claim to hold the moral high ground! (The Church of Scotland is not part of the Anglican communion, but Tutu is.)

Scotland’s Equality and Human Rights Commission commented the Church of Scotland has proven itself to be a modern church for a modern Scotland (, May 24, 2009). Indeed, it has, and it has also proven itself to be an apostate religious harlot that loves this present world more than Jesus Christ.

At its annual convention in 2012, the Episcopal Church in America endorsed the blessing of same-sex unions and voted in favor of transgender clergy (Rob Kerby, Why Is the Episcopal Church Near Collapse?, July 13, 2012). Presiding Bishop Katharine Jeffferts Schori called God the Big Man.

[1] Mammon - a Chaldee or Syriac word meaning "wealth" or "riches" (Luke 16:9-11); also, by personification, the god of riches (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:9-11).
1: wealth regarded as an evil influence
2: (New Testament) a personification of wealth and avarice as an evil spirit.

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