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 –
When small men cast long shadows, then it is
very late in the day.
The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call
upon him in truth.
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid...
Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?...
Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of
God, but the things that be of men.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
If men will not respond to the gospel they will respond to nothing.
20th and 21st century
former Presiding Bishop of the Church of England (Continuing)
What we must do is to educate the masses of the people up to the [KJV],
not bring the Bible down to their level. One of the greatest troubles today is
that everything is cheapened. The common man is made the standard of authority;
he decides everything, and everything has to be brought down to him... Are we
to do that with the Word of God? I say No!
20th century Welsh theologian and
The mere belief of the facts and doctrines of Christianity will never
save our souls. Such belief is no better than the belief of devils. They all
believe and know that Jesus is the Christ. They believe that he will one day judge
the world and cast them down into endless torment. It is a solemn and sorrowful
thought that on these points some professing Christians have even less faith
than the devil. There are some who doubt the reality of hell and the eternity
of punishment. Such doubts as these find no place except in the hearts of
self-willed men and women. There is no infidelity among devils.
19th century Anglican bishop and
You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything
away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in
your power— he’s free again.
20th and 21st century
The contest is not over, the strife is not ended. It has entered upon a
new and enlarged arena; there the champions of constitutional liberty must
fight until government of the United States is brought back to its
President of the Confederate States of
America, statesman and war hero
(The Rise and Fall of the Confederate
Government, Vol. II, p. 294).
Everyone wants to live at the expense of the
State. They forget the State lives
at the expense of everyone else.
Think of the press as a great keyboard on which
the government can play.
reveals a powerful tool for distraction:
What we want, if men become Christians at
all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call ‘Christianity And’. You
know—Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology,
Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity
and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and
Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians
with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a
Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing.
The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of
the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart—an endless
source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and
inconstancy in friendship. The humans live in time, and experience reality
successively. To experience much of it, therefore, they must experience many
different things; in other words, they must experience change. And since they
need change, the Enemy (being a hedonist at heart) has made change pleasurable
to them, just as He has made eating pleasurable. But since He does not wish
them to make change, any more than eating, an end in itself, He has balanced
the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify
both tastes together in the very world He has made, by that union of change and
permanance which we call Rhythm. He gives them the seasons, each season
different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty
yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme. He gives them in His
Church a spiritual year; they change from a fast to a feast, but it is the same
feast as before.
The Propers for today are found
on Page 120-122, with the Collect first:
Sunday called Sexagesima, or the
Sunday before Lent.
LORD God, who seest that we put not
our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be
defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Dru Arnold read the Epistle, which came from the
Eleventh Chapter of Saint Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians beginning at
the Nineteenth Verse. Paul reminds us salvation, honor and glory come not from
what we do or have done, but rather from God. Paul, who as Saul, had been a super star on his way to being
the number one rabbi in the Hebrew nation, he was more learned, more vigorous
in following the law, more vocal in all things. When he “saw the light” and converted, he took that same
approach to Christianity. No one
was more in any thing than he. He
had been the best of the worst and the best of the best. Now he was aware of how short he
himself fell. More importantly, he
was keenly aware of the saving perfection of Christ.
No one did more than Paul, yet he counseled all to
take comfort and pride in God, not themselves. Do your best and look towards God.
E suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man
take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. I speak as
concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is
bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they
Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers
of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes
above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times
received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I
stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by
mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils
in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in
weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in
fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without,
that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and
I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will
glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
Hap Arnold read the Holy Gospel for today which came
from the Eighth Chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke beginning at the Fourth Verse and tells the well known Parable of
the Sower, which might be better referred to as the Parable of the Four Soils,
for the seeds were all alike.
A sower scatters seed on to four different types of
Hard ground “by the way side” prevents the seed from
sprouting at all, and the seed becomes nothing more than bird food. Stony
ground provides enough soil for the seeds to germinate and begin to grow, but
because there is “no deepness of earth,” the plants do not take root and are
soon withered in the sun. Thorny ground allows the seed to grow, but competing
thorns choke the life out of the good plants. Good ground receives the seed and produces much fruit.
Jesus explains the seed is The Word.
Hard ground represents someone so hardened by sin that
though he hears he cannot understand the Word. Thus, Satan can pluck the message away, keeping the heart
dull and preventing the Word from making an impression.
Stony ground represents those who hear and express
delight in The Word, but do not change to live The Word. When trouble arises, they abandon their
Thorny ground represents one who hears and receives
The Word, but who does not connect to it and whose heart is full of riches,
pleasures, and lusts. The effort
that should by rights given The Word are given to the things of this world and
he has no time for The Word.
Good ground represents he who hears, understands, and
implements The Word. Thus, The
Word can work its wonders in his life and that person gains salvation.
The Word is there. We may hear it.
We may take it in our heart.
The benefit comes only when we take it in our heart and act on it. At that point, The Word is acting in
our lives and salvation is in hand.
HEN much people were gathered together, and were come
to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his
seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way-side; and it was trodden down, and
the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it
was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell
among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell
on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had
said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his
disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you
it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in
parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way-side are
they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their
hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they,
which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which
for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell
among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked
with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to
perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good
heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and
Today’s sermon brought the
Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords
Consider these words from the Collect:
…put not our trust in any thing
that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all
In the Collect, we tell God we
put our trust for eternal life not in our actions, but in His Power.
If we do this, then we must do as He
For, to make trust in His
Power rational, we must follow His Direction. If we do not follow His Direction
then we are surely just going be as lost as before we accepted Him into our
hearts. It would be foolish to think that we could
guide ourselves, when in fact we need Him to guide us. The problem is that
often, at least in my case, pride gets in the way of seeing that I/We need to
relie on Him for guidance.
We need Him as our navigator to guide us
along the rocky paths of life, so we don’t crash into the rocks of Sin and
Death! We need His directions if we are to proceed upon the path to Heaven.
This squares with what Paul tells
us, that is salvation, honor and glory come not from what we do or have done,
but rather from God. Therefore, we should turn to Him for guidance and not
By following His Word that is where the salvation, honor and
glory come from. And that is also to whom we should
give credit and not us. We havn't earned the credit, so we should give it to
whom it is due, that is to God our father.
Paul, who as Saul, had been a
super star on his way to being the number one rabbi in the Hebrew nation, he
was more learned, more vigorous in following the law, more vocal in all
When he “saw the light”
and converted, he took that same approach to Christianity.
No one was more in any thing than
He had been the best of the
worst and the best of the best.
Now he was keenly aware of how short he himself fell.
But even more importantly, he was
keenly aware of the saving perfection of Christ. Because he had been at rock
bottom, he was able to recover, which then brought
him to his best
, so that he was aware of the saving power of Christ.
From this he could tell us of the experience of the power of God first hand,
using his life as an example of that. He told us these things not to glory
himself, but to show the glory and honor that comes from on high, from
following His Word. He wanted us, other Christians to
learn from his example and to do their best to follow Him.
counseled all to take comfort and pride in God, not themselves.
Do your best and look towards God.
This brings us right in to the
well known Parable of the Sower, which might be better referred to as the
Parable of the Four Soils, for the seeds were all alike.
Like the seed sown by the sower,
The Word is spread throughout the world for all to hear and act on:
Yet, some will not even hear The Word (Hard
Others will hear, act quickly and abandon God’s
help at the first sign of adversity (Stony ground);
Still others will hear The Word, but The Word is
overtaken by the “pleasures” of this world and is choked out by them.
Like the line from the Bible, where
your money is, that is your worldly effort, there is the evidence of your
The temptation of this
world is great, the reward from God should be greater, but you have to look
Finally we come to those who accept and act on
The Word, like the one seed planted growing into a great plant bearing its
fruit, the rewards are manifold, though the effort is also great, the end
reward far greater.
For the seed
to grow to full fruition and glory, with its manifold blessings, it must have
the ground prepared, carefully tended against encroachment of the evil weeds,
it must be continually watered by the life blood of those around it.
There is much effort required on our
part, but the ultimate reward is so much greater.
While we are on the subject,
consider the issue of weeding.
this not part of the reason for the Church, that is to say the body of
believers, to exist.
often pull our own weeds, but we can help others and they can help us. We cannot pull our weeds alone, but with help, we can
remove them one by one.
Christianity is not a religion of hermits; it is
a social religion where we can help each other.
So, think about this, we need to
understand eternal life and indeed on a shorter term, happiness in our life
here, comes not from our self-directed actions, but those of God and our action
following His direction. If we follow our self-directed actions, we will find
death and misery awaiting us. However, if we put our trust in Him and follow
His commands, we will “live long and prosper” to quote Spock. Do your best and
look towards God for the Light to illuminate your path.
If you prepare your heart, as the
farmer prepares the field, root out the forces of this world as the farmer
roots out weeds, cultivate the good given by God, water your heart with His
Water, your life will be manifold.
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God
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.
2014, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)
Sunday called Sexagesima, or the
Sunday before Lent.
LORD God, who seest that we put not
our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be
defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
HEN much people were gathered together, and were come
to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A
sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way-side; and
it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a
rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked
moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and
choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an
And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear
. And his
disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of
God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing
they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of
God. Those by the way-side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and
taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be
saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with
joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of
temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when
they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures
of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are
they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and
bring forth fruit with patience.
Our Collect which we have prayer today reminds us that we take no credit for
any good deed that we do but only for the evil deeds we may do. If we cannot
trust our own heart to avoid sin, how can we trust that heart to do only
righteousness? If we do not place our full trust in God, then we have nothing
at all to trust. Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give
glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake (Psalms 115:1) When I see
churches and shallow ministers taking credit for that they claim the Lord has
done in building elaborate sanctuaries to the exclusion of the orphan’s table,
I know that this is the world church and not that of Christ. We are all alike
helpless in this world to defend against the forces of darkness. Darkness is
the prime feature of the world in which we live. But we can always call upon
the Lord for our main defense. He will stand with us, and He is Light. Where
Light is, there can be no darkness.
In the Epistle reading for today (2 Corinthians 11:19-31) Paul reminds us of
the many sufferings, hardships, and trials he has faced. He has been in the sea
for a day and a night, beaten with whips and rods, cold and naked, hungry! Yet
Paul, by the grace and protection of God, still stands. He has placed a trust
in God that is worthy of our emulation. Paul readily admits that these
sufferings came as a result of his own weakness, yet he gives God the glory for
sustaining and keeping him through all. God is glorified in the good works
which we do because all righteous works are of God.
Let us now turn to the very acts and Words of Christ in today’s Gospel text
from Luke Chapter 8.
There is a harmony in the Gospels on this parable. It is covered in Matthew,
Mark, and Luke; but I prefer, most thoroughly, the account in Matthew 13 for it
relates in perfect unison with the other parables of the Kingdom in Matthew 13
(also known as the Kingdom Chapter of Matthew).
We see, first of all, in the parable of Jesus, that the Word of God (Seed) must
be carried forth. It does no good to the lost soul for one to have a very
accomplished knowledge of the Word if that Word is not carried forth and
shared. Does the dust covered Bible on your mantle serve any Godly purpose? No,
it does not. Its only value is a promised value such as potential
energy. We need an active value of the Bible being dusted off, read carefully,
memorized, carried forth, and shared. This is the kinetic energy
that results in fulfillment of purpose.
Secondly, we may wonder who is this Sower that goes forth? We know the Sower
is, in the original, Jesus Christ. He brought the saving Gospel and was
Himself, that salvation. He taught the Apostles to be like-minded sowers of the
Word. The Apostles have sowed the Word so abundantly that we all have at least
tasted the fruits of that sowing. And no we are the sowers as well. If we
only consume the Seed upon our own lust, how can there ever be a profitable
increase. The Seed MUST be sowed in order that there will be a continual harvest.
We must not take our Seed as the one talent and bury it away, we must invest
the Seed by sowing and, in the process of time, we shall we receive abundance.
The more we share the Holy Word with others, the greater the harvest of that
Word in our hearts. What did the Sower do? A
sower went out to sow his seed So
must we go forth with the Seed.
Thirdly, we should note that there is only one Seed. It is not a variety of
Seed, but one constant and unchanging truth of God. There are no Seed that are
unwholesome or which do not contain in their hearts the power to produce more
fruit. The seed is the word (singular) of God. God’s Word does not
change, and it is always wholesome whether received in a wholesome heart or
not. The Sower’s bag does not have diverse seeds – even seeds of bramble – in
His bag; but only the true and constant Seed of God’s Word.
Fourthly, we must know that the four different kinds of soils represent four
different kinds of hearts. We know these hearts well. We have all had one of
each of these type hearts at times, but the cultivating Word of God has
prepared our hearts for the Seed – to receive that Seed into the hidden
chambers of our hearts. Perhaps that hidden chamber is the lowest chamber and
most humble part of our hearts. The lowest chamber is where the moisture of
life is most available that the Holy Ghost may nurture the Seed in thick
darkness as the germinated plant struggles to reach the sunlight of the
surface. Jesus, the Sower, does not differentiate between the types of soil
upon which He sows – He sows on all soils. That which is stony ground today may
become fertile soil tomorrow. The Sower does not distinguish between soils or
hearts. It is the condition of the heart that receives the Seed that will
determine whether that Seed shall bear fruit. But it is the Holy Ghost that
gives life to that Seed when the heart has been conditioned by God. “….some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and
the fowls of the air devoured it. 6 And
some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away,
because it lacked moisture. 7 And some
fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang
up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried,
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
God does not cast His pearls before swine. If there are deaf ears to His
Word, then His Word will not germinate in their hearts. They are simply UNABLE
to receive it because of the externals that they so highly value in the world.
But remember, friends, the soils can change. The brambles and briar may be
burned away exposing good earth.
The unlikely soils, or different types of hearts, are capable of being changed.
The hardened wayside may be broken up, the rocky ground cleared of stones, and
the thorns pulled up by the roots or burned by fire. These grounds may be
prepared by God through His workers of the vineyard. We may, through our
examples of obedience to God and contentment, become a hoe, or a plough, to
break up the hardened soil so that the Seed may flourish there. Have you done
this, friends, with the hardened soils about you?
Shall we discover the Fountain of Life and hide its existence from our
families, from our friends, from our neighbors, and from the stranger that
passes by. Would we not suffer from want of our sons and daughters, our
wives, mothers and fathers, neighbors, etc. in an Eternity of Life alone with
God? When the scroll of Heaven parts and time is no more, shall we go
empty-handed before God because we selfishly guarded the secret of His Gospel?
What defense can we utter at that time when our only son or daughter, or our
postman, druggist, or merchant precedes us in judgment and tells the Lord, “I
never knew because no one ever told me?” Then to feel, as did Peter the night
of the Passion, the eyes of Christ turn upon us with that Great Question in His
Face. Perhaps there would be bitter tears, even in Heaven?
The Church has sat silent far too long. It is time to serve as the salt of the
earth – to speak out against the evils of our day. If the professing church in
America would rise up with that One Voice of Christ, in condemning the murder
of innocents in their mother’s wombs; the adulteration of the institution of
marriage and its perversions away from the Creation model; the promiscuity, the
pornographic sex education in schools; the forced elimination of prayer in
school – if the Church were to stand up courageously and not cringe in
political corners, then would there be change, but not until. What about you,
friend: Do you leave your Christian faith at the door of the voting precinct?
Do you prefer to remain silent in caving to public pressure to hide your faith always?
If told to remove your lapel cross, do you brazenly remove the symbol of the
One who died for you? Do you believe that changing times have changed the
Sower’s Seed? Really? Is truth relative, or is truth ALWAYS truth? Wake up
church, and smell the poison in the cup of the world that you have preferred to
that of the Cup from which our Lord drank….NOW!
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:
Psalm 71, Isaiah 50:4-10, 2 Corinthians
Reading the Old and New Testament books we often read of people having visions
and revelations, and we naturally wonder if we should be having such
experiences too. Today we have a great opportunity to look at the Bible’s
teaching on this subject through our reading in 2 Corinthians 12. Here
Paul is talking about visions and revelations because the validity of his
Apostleship and Gospel has been called into question by people who have
infiltrated the various congregations of the Church in Corinth. The
infiltrators fell into two basic schools of thought. First were those who
said Christians must become Jews, and keep the ceremonial laws in order to be
saved. They were called Judaizers. Second, and far more numerous in
Corinth, were those who wanted to mix Christianity with Greek philosophies and
religions. These people claimed God had given them special knowledge
through visions and revelations, often through speaking in tongues. Therefore,
their knowledge of God and His ways were far, far superior to that of the poor
and ignorant man from Tarsus. Paul was so ignorant, they claimed, that
his teachings were erroneous and his apostleship was phony. To prove this
they would work themselves into a fever of mind, passing out on the floor or
“speaking in tongues,” during which times they claimed to be under the direct
control of the Holy Spirit and receiving visions and revelations directly from
God. It is clearly inferred from this that Paul did not have such
experiences, therefore, his Gospel is not from God and he is not a true Apostle
of Jesus Christ.
want to talk about the rarity of visions and revelations for a moment. As
I said a moment ago, it appears Paul did not have such experiences in the
presence of the Corinthians. In fact, looking over Paul’s life we see very
few recordings of visions and revelations. He did have a vision while at
Corinth on his second missionary journey. It did not come through a
trance, being “slain in the Spirit,” or speaking in tongues. It was not
even a public experience. God simply assured him in a dream that “I
am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people
in this city” (Acts 18:19). Including this one, five visions or
revelations of Paul are recorded in Acts. Paul was converted around 30
A.D. He died in Rome in 68 A.D. During those 38 or so years he had
five visions. That’s not a lot if visions and revelations are
supposed to be the normal experience for Christians.
let’s look at a particularly telling statement by Paul. It is found in 2
Corinthians 12:2; “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago.” The
man is Paul. He is speaking of himself in the third person, which was and
is a common literary device, and he is relating the account of a vision and revelation
he had. In a sense he is refuting the false apostles, who claimed to have
direct visions and revelations from God. He is saying, “I’ll tell you
about a vision. I was caught up to the Third Heaven, maybe even out of my
body, into the immediate presence of God. There I saw things that are too
complex and wonderful to describe. I saw things so wonderful and complex
I am not even allowed to talk about them because no human being, including me,
can understand them.” That tops the visions of the false apostles.
They shake and stutter, but Paul is taken into the presence of God.
Paul’s point is that his visions are
superior, so his Apostolic credentials are superior. But the point I want
to make is the time of this vision. It was “above fourteen years
ago.” Second Corinthians was written about 57 A.D., so this vision
happened about 43 A.D. or earlier. It is significant because Paul does
not say he had this revelation this morning and that vision yesterday, and
another vision on the day before. He does not say he has visions and
revelations all the time. He points to one several years ago. Yes
it was an important one, but why didn’t he say he has them all the time?
Because he didn’t. Even Paul did
not have visions and revelations frequently. They were so rare they
merited being recorded in the book of Acts. They were rare and noteworthy
events, even in the lives of the Apostles.
Something else needs to be said here;
visions and revelations were more frequent in the first years after Pentecost
than they were in later years. Why? The New Testament was being
completed, and took their place. Once the faith given to the Apostles was
delivered to the Church in Scripture, the need for visions and revelations
ended. Instead of giving the faith, clergy were called to teach and
explain the faith once given. This is a terribly important
distinction. The minister does not give new revelation, he teaches and
explains the revelation we already have.
This has an important and practical
application to us today. It means God speaks to us through the Bible, not
visions and revelations. Do not expect God to do signs and wonders for
you in order to show you what to do. Don’t be like Doug. Doug was a
graduating seminary student who was trying to decide whether God wanted him to
accept a call to a certain church. One day in chapel it looked like the
sky was trying to decide whether to rain or let the sun shine, and Doug got a
brilliant idea. He made a deal with God. He asked God for a sign
and said if it rains it is a sign that God doesn’t want him to take the
call. If the sun continues it is a sign that God does want him to accept
it. Latter he told one of his professors about his agreement and the
result. His professor said something like, “If you’re going to ask for a
sign, ask for a good one. Ask God to make the rain fall up, or the sun
move backward. Then you will know it’s a sign not a coincidence.
But Christians don’t depend of signs. Christians look into the Bible and
see what it says about ministers and churches and serving God together.
Search the Scriptures with this church, and make your decision based on
Scripture, not weather.
That advice still holds true. Many
Christians are looking for signs and visions and revelations, but they ought to
be looking into the Bible. Many Christians are looking for experiences to
prove God is real and their faith is true, but they ought to be looking into
the Bible. Many are looking for feelings to lead them to God and confirm
their faith, but they ought to be looking into the Bible. Many people
think their relationship with God is based on feelings and religious
experiences and signs and visions and revelations, but they ought to be basing
it on the Bible. And, just for a reminder, our relationship with Christ
is not accomplished through visions, revelations, feelings, or
experiences. Our relationship with Christ is accomplished through our old
friends, the means of grace. Prayer, the Church, public worship, baptism,
Holy Communion, faith, and the reading, hearing, and preaching of Scripture,
these are the means of our relationship with Christ. One of the worst of
all heresies is a practical, rather than theological error. It is the
error that attempts to turn following Christ into an experience rather than faith.
It is the error that says the Bible and the means of grace are not enough for
me. I have to feel it to believe it. It have to feel it to continue
to believe and to know Christ is with me. But God didn’t tell Paul he
would have a feeling or experiences. He told Paul, “My grace is
sufficient for thee.” Let it be sufficient for you.
Anglican Orthodox Church Diocese of Virginia
Holy Trinity Anglican Orthodox Church
Rev Bryan Dabney of Saint John’s Sunday
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.
When one considers the Parable of the Sower as found in St. Luke 8:4-15
(also see St. Matthew 13:3-9,18-23), one cannot help but see four types of
people described therein. Only one type is fruitful while the others are not.
And being fruitful is what a true follower of Christ will be in his service. In
our examination of the particulars of this parable let us, first of all,
consider the sower himself. That person is our Lord Jesus Christ through his
initiation of the gospel. He gave such to the disciples who in turn
communicated it to others. Those who received it, in turn, preached and taught
the gospel of truth unto this day under the rubric of the Great Commission. The
seed is the word of God. As the sower sows the seed it falls into different
ground which are the hearts of men.
In the first instance, the seed fell by the wayside and was quickly
taken away by the fowls. As our Lord explained, the hearts of the people by the
wayside are those who hear the word of God and do not understand it. At that
moment, the devil comes and takes away the word of God from their hearts so
that they will not believe and be saved. As St. Paul said in I Corinthians
2:14, 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. And so, apart from the influence of the Holy Ghost, no
person possesses the capacity to fully comprehend the meaning of God’s word
written. Thus, those by the wayside encompass the atheist, the agnostic and the
inconsiderate of God.
The seed sown in the stony places refers to those who at first receive
the word, but did not continue in it. They may have initially joined a church
after having been exposed to the gospel; nevertheless, when persecutions, and
tribulations appear, they will depart because they are not firmly rooted in the
faith. Sadly, many Christians fall under this description. They are
“so-to-speak Christians,” “convenient Christians,” or
“Christians-in-name-only.” They like the world, and are ashamed of the gospel
when it conflicts with their secular positions. They bear no fruit because they
have no grounding in the word. And without that firm foundation in the truth of
God’s word written, they are swept away by every wind of doctrine, by the
sleight of men and the cunning craftiness of our adversary the devil (Ephesians
The third type of soil into which the seed of the word is sown is
thorny ground. While the word is received in the hearts of such persons, and
may even grow for a time; nevertheless, on account of the weeds and thorns
which surround them, they are incapable of bearing fruit. Our Lord spoke of
such persons as being consumed with the cares of this world and the
deceitfulness of riches which choke the word... They languish in their tepid
faith never producing any fruit. St. Paul warned the Philippian church
(3:18-19) about such persons when he wrote, For many walk of whom I have told
you often and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross
of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly and whose glory
is in their shame, who mind earthly things. And our Lord said in St. Matthew
6:24, Ye cannot serve God and mammon. St. Paul noted in first epistle to St.
Timothy (6:9-10) that, ...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. The weeds and thorns do not yield any edible product; but they
deprive the wheat plants near them of the nutrients they might use to be
productive. They are like the scribes and Pharisees of our Lord’s day who, shut
up the kingdom of heaven against men... neither go [they in and] neither [do
they] suffer... them that are entering to go in (St. Matthew 23:13). They are
thus obstructionists. They divert the would-be Christian from his duties via
those things that will sap his strength and hinder his understanding of God’s
The fourth and final type of soil into which the gospel of truth is
sown is that good ground wherein the word of God is received and then bears
fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. These are the folks who
heareth the word and understandeth it. Per our Lord’s explanation of this
parable, we have confirmation of the message: many are called but few are
chosen (St. Matthew 20:16). Let that sink in for a moment. Only a fourth of the
ground seeded was considered sufficient to bear fruit. So only those who
receive the word of God, and possess a heart committed to God, can do the works
of God. Charles H. Spurgeon once noted that, “If your life is unholy your heart
is unchanged, and if your heart is unchanged you are an unsaved person. If the
Saviour has not sanctified you, renewed you, given you a hatred of sin and a
love of holiness, he has done nothing in you of a saving character. The grace
which does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit. Christ
saves his people, not in their sins, but from their sins.”
Bearing fruit is then the mark of distinction between the good ground
of a heart for God and that of the poor ground where he is denied, doubted or
disregarded. And bearing fruit is our reasonable service to Christ. The cliche
of “What would Jesus do?” is a common tee shirt slogan of our day amongst many
Christians. But such ought to be replaced with a more appropriate biblical
slogan: “What should we be doing on behalf of Jesus?” Asking what our Lord
would do in any current situation does not properly put the focus on what we
ought to be doing in his service. Our Lord has already finished his great work
of salvation, now it is our time to labor. The question should be directed to
those who are expected to work. The only thing remaining for him to complete is
the day of redemption for the regenerate and the day of judgment for the
unregenerate. There is an old hymn written by Anna Coghill in 1860 entitled Work
of the Night is Coming which sums up our duty as fruitful Christians:
Work for the night is coming,
work through the morning hours,
work while the dew is sparkling,
work mid springing flowers;
work while the day grows brighter,
work for the night is coming,
Work for the night is coming,
work through the sunny noon;
fill brightest hours with labor,
rest comes sure and soon;
something to keep in store,
work for the night is coming,
Work for the night is coming,
while their bright tints are glowing,
work till the last beam fadeth,
work while the night is darkening,
So let us then prove our worth by bearing fruit in our Lord’s service;
for in so doing, we establish firmly the reality of our salvation in his saving
blood. The Godhead has sown the seed of his word into our hearts, so let us
then go forth and witness to others through our lives lived in his service, as
well as through our words spoken on his behalf to others.
gracious God, who hast given us thy gift of faith;
make of us workers who need not be ashamed to stand in your presence at the
last and give an account of our lives in service to thee; for this we ask in
the name of him who sowed the seed of thy word into our hearts, even Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.
Have a blessed week, Bryan+
What is Sexagesima?
Sexagesima, or, in full, Sexagesima Sunday, is the
name for the second Sunday before Ash Wednesday in the Catholic (Universal or Whole)
The name "Sexagesima" is derived from the
Latin sexagesimus, meaning "sixtieth," and appears to be a
back-formation of Quinquagesima, the term formerly used to denote the last
Sunday before Lent (the latter name alluding to the fact that there are fifty
days between that Sunday and Easter, if one counts both days themselves in the
total). Through the same process, the Sunday before Sexagesima Sunday is known
as Septuagesima Sunday, and marks the start of the Pre-Lenten Season, which
eventually became the time for carnival celebrations throughout Europe, this
custom being later exported to places settled and/or colonized by Europeans.
While Quinquagesima (50th day) is mathematically correct (allowing for the
inclusive counting), Sexagesima and Septuagesima are only approximations (the
exact number of days is 57 and 64 respectively). The earliest Sexagesima can
occur is January 25 and the latest is February 28 (or February 29 in a leap
The 17-day period beginning on Septuagesima Sunday
spanning Sexuagesima and Quinquagesima Sundays was intended to be observed as a
preparation for the season of Lent, which is itself a period of spiritual
preparation (for Easter). In many countries, however, Septuagesima Sunday marks
the start of the carnival season, culminating on Shrove Tuesday, more commonly
known as Mardi Gras.
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