Sunday, September 30, 2012

Trinity 17

Luke 14:1-11 - Trinity XVII - September 30, 2012
Christ Our Sabbath Rest

Let us pray:
Come, O Christ, and loose the chains that bind us:
Lead us forth and cast this world behind us.
With Thee, the Anointed,
Finds the soul its joy and rest appointed.  Amen.
Jesus was invited to the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees.  It was the Sabbath, the day of rest.  Although it appeared to be a simple meal on this occasion, the Jews would often throw great feasts on the Sabbath so long as the food was prepared the day before—keep this in mind: they prepared their meal the day before.  Who, after all, would prepare anything that took more work on the Sabbath? 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Trinity 16

Luke 7:11-17 - Trinity XVI - September 23, 2012
Jesus Encounters & Conquers Our Death

God said to Adam and Eve, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  Death is a bad thing.  People will try to call it a part of life.  But it’s not.  It’s the end of life; and we know it.  When God created our first parents male and female, He did not create them to die.  He created them to live.  That’s why God made them male and female.  That’s why God makes us male and female.  When God joins man and woman together to be one flesh he joins them together for the express purpose that they might be fruitful and multiply, that is, that God might through their life-long union create new life.  Life is a good thing.  But, of course, sin affects what God made to be good.  And its corrupting effects are disastrous.  It’s sad to say, and it’s sadder to see, that it is within marriage where the most devastating results of sin are found. 
Just consider. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Trinity 14

Galatians 5:16-24 - Trinity XIV - September 9, 2012
Working Works or Bearing Fruits
The central teaching of Holy Scripture is that a sinner is justified before God by grace alone through faith in Christ.  This is to say that God forgives us our sins and declares us righteous on account of the holy life, the innocent suffering and death, and the glorious resurrection and ascension of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  All this God does by grace alone apart from any of our own merits or works or preparations.  We are saved from sin, death, and hell by faith alone, that is to say, when we believe that for Jesus’ sake God receives us into His favor.  This is the resounding and consistent message of the whole Bible.  St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians is perhaps the clearest of all testimonies in Scripture to this precious doctrine of justification.  
The occasion for which Paul wrote what he wrote was that this doctrine was being challenged and perverted by false teachers in Galatia.  They were teaching that after people came to faith, they had to do something beyond just believing in order to perfect their righteous standing before God.  This was an error that could not be tolerated because it totally contradicted the whole Christian religion.  It denied the very definition of grace by saying that the righteousness faith received in the forgiveness of sins was not good enough.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Trinity 13

Luke 10:21-37 - Trinity XIII - September 2, 2012
Seeing Jesus with the Eyes of Faith
The parable of the Good Samaritan is a great story.  It is impossible not to be moved by what it relates.  It’s a tale of compassion and mercy, of over-and-above service and help all coming from the least likely of characters – a social outcast.  This story puts to shame hypocrisy, self-importance, and the false pretense of holiness—all while exalting such rare and godly virtues as humility, self-sacrifice, and true kindness.  If more people were to take this lesson to heart, the world would be a better place!  It’s true. 
But Jesus did not tell this story simply in order to give us a moral lesson.