Verse of the Day

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fourth 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 some great ones to share.  On to the On Point quotes –

Lewis, grieving the death of his wife, Joy:
What sort of a lover am I to think so much about my affliction and so much less about hers? Even the insane call, ‘Come back,’ is all for my own sake. I never even raised the question whether such a return, if it were possible, would be good for her. I want her back as an ingredient in the restoration of my past. Could I have wished her anything worse? Having got once through death, to come back and then, at some later date, have all her dying to do over again? They call Stephen the first martyr. Hadn’t Lazarus the rawer deal?
Jack Lewis
A Grief Observed

On the present moment – for we live only in the present
Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.
Jack Lewis
The Weight of Glory

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
St. Matthew 5:20

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:9

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
I St. John 4:15

Recent bible translations have sadly substituted the word slave or bond slave for the word servant. The word slave does not communicate the fact that we come to Christ and we serve him by our own choice. A slave is captured, forced to go with his captor and compelled to work under cruel conditions. As Christians, we are servants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart.
Gail Riplinger
20th and 21st century American bible scholar and author
In Awe of Thy Word, p.263

There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.
Blaise Pascal
17th century French mathematician, philosopher and author

We are at present working discreetly with all our might to wrest this mysterious force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local nation states of the world.
Dr. Arnold Toynbee
20th century English historian and globalist

This present window of opportunity, during which a truly peaceful and interdependent world order might be built, will not be open for too long. We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.
David Rockefeller
20th and 21st century American globalist

If there ever is a move to get rid of the U.S. dollar for an international currency of some kind, the American people will need to resist it with all of their might. The more integrated the world becomes, the more likely it becomes that we will see nightmarish global tyranny someday. It is very frightening to think of what someone very evil might do if they had the chance to run the entire planet. Once our national sovereignty is gone, it will be incredibly difficult to get back. If the American people don't take a stand while they still can, their children may wake up someday as citizens of a very oppressive global regime.
Michael Snyder
21st century American commentator

The Propers for today are found on Page 194-194, with the Collect first:

Fourth Sunday after Trinity.
The Collect.

 GOD, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle came from the Eight Chapter of St. Paul‘s Letter to the Romans, beginning at the Eighteenth Verse. Paul tells us that walking God’s path, though it may seem hard at the time, is nothing compared to the reward we receive in heaven for following God’s will.  God gave us free will, which if we exercise it properly, that is the will to overcome temptation.  What at first seems like a constrained way of living, once actually lived is really perfect freedom.  If we overcome temptation to do what we want and do what God wants, we will receive the gift of eternal salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  For until Christ, there was no delivery from the pain of worldly existence; through Christ there is redemption of our souls and our resulting bodily resurrection.

RECKON that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

The Holy Gospel came from the Sixth Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke, beginning at the Thirty-Sixth Verse. This is a simple message, yet often misunderstood, with majestic language that brings the message to a point of incredible sharpness.  “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; give and it shall be given unto you… …Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?”  “… why beholdest thou the mote that is in the brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  …How canst thou say to thy brother, Brother let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest no the beam that is in thine own eye?”  This is often quoted, but the following sentence is left out, “Cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the more that is in thy brother’s eye.” 

Only when we first take care of our own spiritual health, look to our own relationship to God and evaluate and improve how we follow His Word, we will be able to effectively spread the Word of His love for us.

E ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.

Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly  contained in the forewords above.

Today’s sermon discussed the Collect, Epistle and Gospel.  It is partially contained in the forewords above.

Consider these words from the Collect:

… protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal…

God can only help us if we put our trust in Him, we can never be strong, nor set aside to Him if we do not let Him be our leader. We need a leader to follow. We cannot be our own leaders. If we try to become our own leaders, it will not work. But if we will follow His lead, we will pass through this world in good order and go on to the next in eternal happiness. This is a very common theme within the Christian theme, do what God asks, we will be happy. If we don’t do what God asks, we won’t be happy. It seems simple enough in theory, but a lot harder in practice. It is a lot easier said or thought about than done. God is the only one who we should be concerned about, if we follow Him, than those who really matter will like us for who we are, and how we conduct ourselves, due to following God, and those who don’t, well, do not matter to us and as such are of no concern. Do what is right, avoid what is wrong and you will be happy is the basic principle of the Christian faith.

Paul builds on this, telling us that walking God’s path, though it may seem hard at the time, is nothing compared to the reward we receive in heaven for following God’s will. Let us think about that the next time we are struggling with an issue, whatever it may be. In the end, our reward will outweigh all of our struggles, if we will but keep our eye on the true prize.  God gave us free will, which if we exercise it properly, that is the will to overcome temptation.  What at first seems like a constrained way of living, once actually lived is really perfect freedom. It only seems constrained, because we cannot conceive how following His Word will allow us true freedom.  If we overcome temptation to do what we want and do what God wants, we will receive the gift of eternal salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  For until Christ, there was no delivery from the pain of worldly existence; through Christ there is redemption of our souls and our resulting bodily resurrection.

Luke presents a simple message, yet one that is often misunderstood, with majestic language that brings the message to a point of incredible sharpness.  We are to be a guide to others to Christ, yet we cannot help others until our own problems are on the way to “solvation”, that is being solved through the salvation offered by Christ.  We need to follow Him, before we ask others to follow us.  After all, if we are not going in the right direction, why should others follow us?  We do not want to be leading others towards the Pit, rather, we want to be sure we are on the right path before we guide others along the path. We should be the pathfinders, finding the correct path for us to travel amongst the journey of life! We must be honest in our appraisal of ourselves so that we can do what we are supposed to.  So, how do we, imperfect that we are, be honest with ourselves?  The answer is easy, hard to implement, but easy!  The Holy Ghost.  Let Him into your heart and do what you are told.  Simple, yet hard to do.  We want to do what we want to do. But yet, it is what must be done, no matter how hard it seems at the time. It will get easier as we do it, but it will never be truly easy. But it is way easier than the alternative, which is not following God’s Word.

Speaking of doing, what we do to others is a good measure of how we follow God’s Will and Direction.  We are expected to treat others as we would be treated.  Our real earthly fortune, as well as are eternal lives, are a reflection of our commitment to God.

We are so ready to condemn the performance of others when our own is even worse.  It is common within all of us, especially me particularly. As Paul tells us, “all fall short.”  The operative word here is ALL.  If we look to condemn and repair our own spiritual lives before condemning others, we will be better suited to help them.  Our beam before their mote.

For only when we have taken care of our own spiritual health by looking to God for help to evaluate and improve how we follow His Word, we will be able to effectively spread the Word of His love for us.

And that is our job, to improve ourselves to effectively spread His Word by example; our action, not our diction, is the measure.

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 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:

A Vision of God that Heals Lives
Psalm 23
Fourth Sunday after Trinity
July 13, 2014

People have always recognized that the mind controls the life.  No one said this any more succinctly than Solomon in Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  Therefore, most real change in life begins in the mind.  Change the mind-change the life.  Again this principle is well stated in Scripture.  When Jesus came preaching repentance  (Mk.1:15), he used a word that meant to make a fundamental, radical change in your mind, meaning your way of thinking and the content of your thoughts.  When Romans 12:2 tells us, “be ye transformed,” it uses the Greek word we use to describe the process of changing a worm into a butterfly.  How is this transformation to happen? “by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2), meaning a complete renovation of your entire outlook on life.  Turning again to the Bible, we see in Philippians 4:8 and 9 that we are to occupy our minds with:

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.

We see in these verses that God’s pattern for real life change begins in the mind.  Change your mind and your life follow.  It has been said that one of the foundational goals of the Christian faith is to heal the mind and soul of man.  This healing is accomplished by bringing him into a right relationship with God and with the mental, moral, spiritual laws and principles God has given in Scripture.  After introducing a person to the Saviour who paid the price for his sins, our task is to teach to him the doctrines of the faith and the principles of Godliness revealed in Scripture.  It is certainly no secret that the more closely we follow the faith and practice taught in the Bible, the more contented we will be in this life.  Conversely, the further we depart from them, the more misery we heap upon our own heads.  In other words, Biblical thinking and living heals lives. We may state this principle very simply: change your mind and you change your life.

If you intend to change your life toward wholeness and wellness you must change it toward Godliness.  I lay this down as a self-evident truth.  I could spend much time giving examples of the devastating effects of ungodliness and the healing effects of Godliness.  But today I will simply state again the premise that if you want to change your life toward wholeness and healing you must change it toward Godliness. But many will ask, “how do I change my mind toward Godliness?”  I said last Sunday that this is primarily accomplished by filling our minds with the Bible, and allowing the Bible to shape our thoughts and attitudes.  Having minds shaped by Scripture moves us into lives shaped by Scripture.  Minds and lives shaped by Scripture work wholeness and wellness in life.

One of the first things we need to let the Bible do for us do is to have our minds shaped by the reality of who God is and what He is.  In theological terms we would say we need to begin with a right understanding of the Being and Nature of God. We need to have a vision of God.  We need our minds to “see” God in His magnificence and glory and power and infinity and holiness and goodness and love and wrath.  These are often called attributes of God, and they describe what God is in Himself.  But I want to talk about what God is in His relationship to us, and one of the greatest words in all the Bible that describes this part of God, in my opinion, is the word, “Shepherd.”  Jesus used that word to describe Himself.  Twice in John 10 He said, “I am the good shepherd.”  He was telling us He is the real shepherd.  He is the true shepherd.  You can tell this because He did not fleece the flock or leave us to thieves and wolves; He gave His life for us.  “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock,” says Psalm 80:1.  And then there is that great verse we hear in Handel’s “Messiah” every Christmas, Isaiah 40:11, “He shall lead his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” And finally, there is that great Shepherd Psalm, the Twenty-third Psalm.

What a magnificent vision of God is planted in our minds in this Psalm.   Here are no petitions.  Here no complaints rise to the throne of grace.  Here is only a statement of faith and a picture of the wonderful grace of God.  There is healing in the words of this Psalm.  In them the Good Shepherd “restoreth my soul.”  The power in these words is the magnificent vision of God they plant in our minds.  He is not a distant God, watching from afar to see how we will deal with life.  He is near and present, like a shepherd with his flock.  Here you see a vision of what God wants to do for you.  I should say it is a picture of what God is doing for you now and everyday.  He continually makes you to lie down in green pastures. He continually leads you beside the still waters.  He continually restores your soul.

A week ago I intended to spend this morning commenting on the various phrases of this Psalm in an attempt to clarify their meanings and show their application to Christ.  There is much meaning in this Psalm.  For example, in the ultimate sense, Christ Himself is our greenest pasture, the purest of still waters, and the table prepared before us in the presence of our enemies.  He restoreth our souls by His atoning sacrifice on the cross.  And He continually restoreth our souls by His Word and Spirit and means of grace, which are also green pastures, still waters and feasts set before us But rather than commenting on the Psalm, I have decided to let it speak for itself.  Please listen prayerfully as I read Psalm Twenty-three.

HE LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Here is a vision of God that changes lives.  Let it change yours.

Roy Morales-Kuhn, Bishop and Pastor - St. Paul's Anglican Church - Anglican Orthodox Church
Bishop Roy is pastor of the biggest AOC parish West of the Mississippi and is in charge of the Diocese of the Epiphany. 

Fourth Sunday after Trinity
13 July 2014
Psalm 75

God Will Judge with Equity

1.Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.

Verse one is expressing the psalmist actions of giving thanks to God. He is actually including those who are listening to the psalm as it is being sung. “We give thanks … thy wondrous works declare.”  This is an accounting of the assembly to speak about and remember the great things God has done for them. This is an appropriate way to open a time of praise. This idea or action is what we call common prayer or the very thing that we are doing here in this church this morning. God wants us to worship together. He wants us to come together as family and to seek his guidance, comfort, instruction, his love. We call this corporate worship or common, as in all the people coming together to seek God.

In a familiar ‘compare and contrast’ the psalmist now switches to what God will do those who are not keeping God’s great deeds in mind or praising him for those things. He is pointing out to us that we need to understand that being away from God is not the true option for believers. And as we will see today we are not the ones who will set the time for him to do his job, as it pertains to those who do not follow God and his statues.

2 When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.
3 The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.

God speaks of a time of judgment. It is at his set time, he will show his power. He is the strength of the pillars. Why does he tell us this? Don’t you sometimes wonder why God lets evil thrive? It seems like sometimes those who are bad get by with everything. We must always keep in mind, that God will take care of his world. After all didn’t he create it? It was in his time that he sent his Son to die for us on the cross. There were plenty of times that the prophets warned the people of the coming wrath of God. They also spoke to the coming salvation of God. There was even a period of time when God did not speak directly to the people through his prophets, we call the period the four hundred silent years. Then without any help from mankind, God began to unveil the coming One, he who would bear the sins and judgment of us all. This One did not come on a white horse to destroy the Roman occupiers, he did not come down with a vengeance to take out all the evil in the world, no he came as a little child, helpless and small. We would have had God’s help come as a cleaning broom, someone who would sweep away all the evil from our world and bring us peace. Instead he sweeps away evil in our lives, he makes us cleansed and covers our sin so we can approach the absolute holiness of God. We cannot approach God’s holiness as we are, we must have the sin covering that is provided by Jesus shed blood.

Now let’s see what God does about evil.

God does not let this go unnoticed. He will bring his judgment to bear. He will take care of the problem as he says in the next three verses.

4 I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn:
5 Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.
6 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

We now read what God will do to the wicked. But I refer you to verse two. This judgment will be in God’s time, not ours. We sometimes are so impatient that we can’t wait on God to do what we think is the right thing. In his time, he will take care of all evil. He will take care of the things that are against him and his people. In verse seven we read that he will put down one and lift up another. He is the final judge. It is he who will have the final say, we need not worry about who gets rewarded and who gets punished.

8 For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.

It is interesting that one form of this punishment comes in what seems to be a good form, a well mixed cup of wine, but the foaming part describes a wine that has gone bad, and the end of the cup is the skins, stems, seeds, and the resulting dregs left over from the making of the wine. Not a very flavorful type of wine. It really isn’t very tasty. So when we think that the evil are getting away with so much, think back to this verse and the promised drink that the evil of this world will finally get. We really don’t need to worry, God is so much wiser than us, he knows what to do, really he does.

9 But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

Now the psalmist goes back to the praise mode of the beginning of the psalm, he gives an expression of praise and will do this forever, as we see in verse nine. This is the return to a praise attitude that we all need to remember. Our job is to praise God, in both good times and bad. We sometimes forget to praise him in good times. And we definitely forget to praise him in bad times.

10 All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

We see a switch back to God explaining to us what he will do to the wicked. The symbol of a horn is a sign of power or leadership. So when God says he will cut off the horns of the wicked he is telling us that the wicked are not going to prevail. They will be one day put down, they will not prevail, they will be taken out of power. He then tell us what will happen to the righteous, they will be lifted up. That action indicates that they will be given a position of greatness. They will be raised up to a position of honor.

We do not need to worry about what God will do in this tired and wicked world. He has told us again and again, in various places through out the Bible. Our job is to praise God, to know that he is in control and that everything in the end will be fine. He is in control of it all.

Let us pray.

 GOD, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ's sake our Lord. Amen.

 FATHER of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need; We humbly beseech thee to behold, visit, and relieve thy sick servants [Dick, Ruth, Atina,.] for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon them with the eyes of thy mercy; comfort them with a sense of thy goodness; preserve them from the temptations of the enemy; and give them patience under their affliction. In thy good time, restore them to health, and enable them to lead the residue of their life in thy fear, and to thy glory; and grant that finally they may dwell with thee in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SSIST us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of thy servants towards the attainment of everlasting salvation; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by thy most gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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.

Fourth Sunday after Trinity

When we consider the words of the apostle Paul in the epistle today (Romans 8:23), the apostle stated that we who are in Christ groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. In another epistle (see below Ephesians 1:5), the apostle spoke of those who are in Christ as having been predestinated unto adoption by our God in Christ Jesus. What a wonderful and truly gratifying thing for him to do in making us joint-heirs with Christ in his heavenly kingdom.

Unfortunately, there are a host of folks who will not accept God’s gift of grace. And while repentance is available to them while in this life, few seem truly interested in seeking reconciliation with God, particularly on his terms. They may often feign a belief in Christ all the while denying his deity simply to please a family member, or to take the pressure off them by being baptized or confirmed in the faith. In these sorts of acts, we ought not be surprised as there have always been false converts: hypocrites in white masquerading as godly saints, or they may— under the influence of Satan— be transformed into wolves in sheep’s clothing. St. Paul warned the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:28-31) that such deceivers would work their way into leadership roles within the body of Christ. And as a cursory review of modern Christendom makes plain, such persons have sought through self-aggrandizement— as bishops, elders, priests and pastors— to enhance their stature among men as well as to inflate their bank accounts. And so the hypocrites in the pew along with the imposters in the ministry have become the willing pawns of the evil one. Sadly, many will neither recognize his existence, nor resist his insinuations to their own undoing.

It should be plainly understood from Scripture that all who are not born again of the Spirit are doomed to an eternity in perdition. As unpleasant as that may sound, consider what our Lord said to Nicodemus (St. John 3:3) Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. And in a later portion of that same chapter we are told that, He that believeth on him [Jesus Christ] is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (v.18). If we are to be saved from death, hell and the grave, we must believe that Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son; accept his atoning sacrifice on our behalf; and confess our sins to God the Father in his name.

The concept of adoption— in our understanding of the word— means to take someone into your immediate family and recognize them as possessing the same standing as if they were a natural offspring. It means that said person has been legitimized— cleansed or made acceptable for their inclusion as a family member. So it follows that for God to take us into his family, we too must be legitimized— made acceptable to him. That is where his love comes in as it is the glue that binds us to the Godhead. For once a person accepts our Lord’s atoning sacrifice and repents, God then regards him or her as his child by adoption.

Think of the great love which God has bestowed upon us through Christ’s sacrifice. Consider the anguish that the Father felt that day when our Lord suffered as he did. No greater love has ever been demonstrated than what our Lord did for us there on Calvary’s cross. Through his oblation of himself once offered, we who are born again are not treated as mere step-children, but full heirs of his kingdom. God now regards us as his through Christ Jesus even though we are of earthly parents and tainted by original sin. And God’s decision to adopt us was made before the foundation of the world.

Listen to the words of St. Paul in his epistle to the Ephesian church, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved (1: 3-6). The apostle spoke of our adoption as a work beforehand called for under the terms of godly election. But we are required to make sure our calling via our acceptance of Christ Jesus as our Saviour and Lord. And so, from the moment we believed and accepted Christ as our Saviour, we confirmed our place in God’s plan (St. John 3:15-16). God’s free gift is to whosoever will, not whosoever won’t.

We received a gift of inestimable value the day we accepted Christ. It is like the parables of the treasure hid in a field, or that of the pearl of great price (see St. Matthew 13:44-46). We have received a guarantee of an eternity with the Godhead, not as mere attendants, but as his sons and daughters. And because we have been adopted by God himself, we ought to live in the knowledge that we are in the Master’s hand and nothing can take us out (see St. John 10:27-29).

It is therefore incumbent upon everyone of the household of faith to confirm their adoption by standing for God’s word written; by bearing fruit in his service; by abstaining from every form and appearance of evil; and by resisting those things that would quench the Spirit of God within them. Do those things wherein you have been called of the Father without murmuring and complaining, and do them out of a love for God and not simply out of compulsion. And remember, in all things, to give him thanks and praise for his free gift of grace, for this is what a blessed child of the King of kings will do.

All born-again Christians have been adopted into the household of God so let us then live as children of righteousness. Let your light shine out in this world of sin and satanic darkness. Say to those who have yet to respond, that the promise of God’s redemption has been offered and that God’s gift is before them. Call on them to accept it and live according to God’s word written for therein will the truth of what is in their hearts shall be revealed. As our Lord said, He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him (St. John 14:21). Therefore go forth today resolved to love the Lord Jesus Christ and make sure your adoption as a child of God and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.

Let us pray,

 GOOD and gracious God, who made our salvation sure through the atoning work of thine only begotten Son; we thank thee LORD for adopting us into the body of Christ via the coming of the Holy Ghost; and help us to remember our heritage, and to treasure our adoption as co-heirs with Christ in thy heavenly kingdom; all of which we ask in his most precious name. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+

No comments: