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Sermon Notes Septuagesima Sunday 12 February in the Year of our Lord the 2017th

Sermon Notes Septuagesima Sunday 12 February in the Year of our Lord the 2017th

St Andrews Anglican Church

 

PRAYER

 

The Sunday called Septuagesima, or the third Sunday before Lent.

The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

 

This Collect prepares our hearts for Grace and disavows any personal merit we may consider that we have. First, we pray that our prayer, offered out of a contrite heart, may be heard by the Lord. Secondly, our punishments regardless the severity are all deserved for we have all come short of the righteousness of God. Thirdly, not claiming any righteousness now on our own behalf, but that righteousness of Jesus Christ, we ask only for His mercy and His Glory.

 

Matthew 5:1-16

1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

     3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

     13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

 

The multitudes always flocked to Christ but only for their own benefit. “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him.” That is true today as well. The multitudes that flock to churches on Sunday are not truly seeking Christ, but social, political and financial advantage, or rather to satisfy a curiosity. Those who come truly seeking Him are the smaller remnant of the people – the true disciples.

             Jesus, when wearied, often went up to the mountain. It is a place where the world is less and heaven is nearer. There He may find solitude.

“…when he was set” Unlike many moderns who love to make a show of jumping about in the pulpit, Jesus often sat down (as one having authority) to preach and teach. Wild gesticulations will not nurture faith, but Jesus spoke in calm and even words.

The multitudes will come readily on easy terrain, but they are less likely to go so far as to climb a mountain.

We see now a division between the reward of those who are blessed (and who they are) and the nature of those who are truly blessed of the Lord.

And he opened his mouth, and taught them,” In the military we would call this an Alert Order – Christ is about to speak words of surpassing importance:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

There is one common thread running through all of the Blessed – they are humble and lacking undue pride. If they have pride, it is in Christ and not themselves.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Here we have a perfect example of the kind of persecution that takes place from the world, and often regrettably, the people of the Church itself. The prophets of old times were not persecuted by the world as much as by the rulers of Israel. The same is true today. If you question their extravagant spending plans, you will find yourself outside the gate, beaten and tortured by the tongues of men.

Who are the blessed of God in the final equation? Have you ever heard an honest and good man or woman described in this way: “That man is the salt of the earth!”?

 

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” What is the nature of salt and who made salt?

 

All things were made by God. He made salt for our good. What are some benefits of salt?

Makes food taste better. The Christian makes those about him enjoy his company.

Preserves meats and vegetables so that they can be stored for long periods. The witness of a Christian nation will preserve it in liberty and safety for long periods.

Valuable – salt was used to pay Roman soldiers at the time of Christ. The Roman name for salt is salarius – this is the origin of our term ‘salary.’ Salt necessary for life.

Salt is not found every place. It must be mined at hard labor and then transported to the source of need. God’s Word must be studied (mined) and transported to the source of need – a perishing world.

Salt creates thirst just as salty popcorn in a theater (to entice us to buy soft drinks). The Christian example of the Church should make people thirsty to come and know of our joy.

Salt is stored in shakers. If it is kept to long without being shaken, it will harden and not able to be used on food. The Christian is the same way. If we stay apart from the lives of others, or huddle in little cliques in church, we will get hardened and of no benefit to our fellow man.

Salt is essential to maintain life.

 

Salt is a Compound comprised of two atoms – which are they? Remember your junior high chemistry class? NaCl 

Na = Sodium, a soft, yellowish, poisonous metal never found in pure form in nature. It will always be combined with some other element such as carbon, sulphur, or hydrogen.

            CL = Chlorine, is an odorless, colorless gas which cannot be seen, but is so deadly that it was the first chemical used in chemical warfare in WWI. It kill without the victim being aware of its presence. The lost sinner dies not being aware of the presence of God.

            But when these two poisons are combined, they create a compound essential for life!

            If we allow sodium to represent man (a soft yellow medal) we see that man is lost in his natural state, always joined to the elements of the world.

            If we allow chlorine to represent God as an invisible Spirit, we find that He is deadly to man if man is not joined to Him as in the case of NACL. But when combined, the result is something essential for life.

     If we place salt in a bag on the ground and leave it alone for a long while, it will begin to separate from the Chlorine and join with other elements of the world. How like a Christian who is overly close to the things of the world.

            If we view common table salt under a microscope, we will find that the invisible chlorine gas, and soft yellow metal have formed perfect cubes of white. These cubes maintain a structural integrity that maintains their form even when beaten into small pieces. Should not the Christian maintain his integrity and form as well when subjected to persecution?

 

We are, if we are committed to Christ, the salt of the earth.

Now let us turn to light. What is light?

 

     Nobody knows, not even our NASA scientists.

     Science can only describe the behavior and characteristics of Light, but cannot define exactly what Light is.

     Light is invisible. Strange to you? You can only see light in the manner in which it reveals reality to us. We can see each other today because light has revealed our visage to each other. God is like Light – we cannot see Him, but we can see the Truth and Promise He has revealed to us. We know Him too because we know His Son, Jesus.

     According to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, there is only one absolute known to man – the speed of Light. Christ tells us that He is the Light of the World! He is absolute and His Truth is unassailable!

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The Sun is our great physical light without which there could be no life on earth. Christ, to us, is like the Sun. We must be blessed by His warm, life-giving rays daily.

If there is a lunar eclipse, we have allowed some physical object to come between us and our Sun of Righteousness. “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. “ (Mal 4:2)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

             Wait! Jesus says that WE are the Light of the World, and here He says HE is the Light of the World. How may we reconcile these seemingly conflicting statements?

            Have you ever basked in the light of the moon on a warm summer evening? The moon is the brightest light in the sky at night, but it does not own its light, it borrows it from the Sun and reflects it down to us. We, too, are the only light is a darkened night of the world, but our light, too, is borrowed and reflected. We get our Light from the Sun of Righteousness and it is not ours – but His.

             A hidden light is not light at all. We must be openly burning for Christ. If we are bright lights for Christ, our lights shall be seen at great distances across the Wilderness of the World. Are you a shining light for Christ, or is your light darkened?

 

 

 

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