Proper 8

by the Rev. Dcn. Steven Edwards

As believers in Christ, we acknowledge the Holy Scriptures as the Lord’s Word of Truth, and know, to the very depth of our souls & understanding, that the life of man, is of the breath of God.         Genesis 2:7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.              And so it follows, that in our thinking/understanding as believers, we can readily conclude, that through faith in the Lord, confirmed & sealed by the Holy Spirit, we are ourselves, children of God, of He who is our Creator and Father in Heaven. And I am confident, were we to ask ourselves, we would readily answer to “who’s are you/to whom do you belong”; responding “I belong to the Lord!”  While, for a non-believer, there may not be a sovereign, but instead, competing priorities; leaving themselves open for self-promotion thru random or changing opportunity and loyalties : who/what do they live for, is there a primary hope to fulfill their lives, to whom are they accountable?                        Yet consider, even for a believer, our full resolve may at times seem, clouded by circumstance or point of reference? Do we, not have other loyalties, loves, commitments, responsibilities? Parents, spouse, children, siblings, friends. Do we not owe them love & loyalty?       So then, do these concerns change or conflict us?  Are we, the Lord’s, are we, ok in Him? Yes, thanks be to God, He is in us and we in Him; for we walk with our Savior, Jesus, who will never leave us nor forsake us. He will guide us and equip us in all truth! God has room enough & love enough for each of us in His Kingdom and His truth and His way is His willing provision to each of us. Jesus has opened the Kingdom of God to us; removing the stain of sin which had separated us from Him. Jesus brings truth and light, in order that we are neither unaware of, nor ourselves add, a stumbling block in the path to which he has called us. In Him we have hope and joy sufficient to sustain us in every challenge to our faith.   For there is but one God; and we are to love Him in a fullness of love. He loved us before we knew Him, for He made us, uniquely and wonderfully for relationship with Him.   He calls us daily unto the fullness of His blessing.

God offers fullness & beauty for love unto Him and to others. And the promise, of the power of God, that His love for us shall be unbroken.  His charity and power to save are unparalleled. We can offer no greater gift, to our loved ones then to love them in Christ. Who’s unmatched power and sincerity in love alone can fulfill the blessing & promise of love.  

So let us boldly enter our Gospel Lesson for today, that with Jesus, we may recognize the challenges which tempt our faith, our resolve. Christ made a way for us through personal sacrifice. And the way of the cross lies with us, in the way ahead; but will shall not bear it alone; for we are never out of the reach of Christ. Man has and will struggle between a life of faith and the life of the flesh, which is displayed & raging in the in the world around us. We are warned about the wrath of God, but the wrath the people. We must choose a life, conforming to Christ; or to the way of the world. And we will be called to bewail, hope and pray for those who have not yet chosen so wisely; in particular they those known and close to us, our family. 

Matthew 10: beginning with verse 34

            Matthew 10:34 Do not think I have come to bring peace to the earth. In regards to peace: The good News of Christ, the Gospel would set the world ahead, as significant as an event in human history. The Gospel impacts the past the future, even into and for eternity. Eternal life in the Kingdom or death & destruction.  This revelation of God, of himself, to man in Christ Jesus; and the invitation of salvation for all humankind; brings joy to many and yet a stumbling block, a shaking for those chose to remain in the way already familiar. The Gospel will shatter the peace of the world’s understanding. Romans 9:33 as it is written,  “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

I have come not to bring peace, but a sword. I believe the sword in this instance references division. Th

Sword reference:  Sword of the spirit to defend our heart & faith of love Eph 6:17 In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith….. the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

Matt 10:36 And who ever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. We must pick up our cross & follow the Lord; not one another. The Lord must be our first love, our first truth.

God is identifying for us (a grave) the depth of the continuing struggle in man between a life of faith and the life of the flesh. A life which conforms to Christ or to the world.  A struggle so close that we will not be untouched, that our daily lives are impacted, even our most sincere personal relationships effected. Consider Adam & Eve in the Garden. Which one abandoned trust in the way of God? Both.  And whom did they follow? The deceiver and each other into death! And what was their gain, their benefit; were either, in any way advanced or promoted? Their blessing and joy were diminished; and they had dishonored God. Does not God have the power to help those who honor and love Him. Yes! Could any of us, possibly do more help & benefit those precious to us, loved by us, than Almighty God, who loves them even more? Let God empower your love for one another; entrust, offer those precious to you unto to the fullness of God’s provision; do not place them in competition against his favor. The faithfulness of the Lord is forever. What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 1st Cor2:9

Thou shall have no God’s before me. To place another in the position/place of God is to generate conflict. God had designed us for uninterrupted love, directly impacting our soul. It should not by diverted through others and negate the fullness of His blessing.          We can fail, those whom we love can fail. Who is that can not fail? Who has overcome, every temptation, treachery, jealousy, every lie & evil of every manner, even death itself?? Christ Jesus, the Lord. And he has promised that he will be with you.

Matt 10:36 And who ever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. We must pick up our cross & follow the Lord; not one another. The Lord must be our first love, our first truth. We will do well to acknowledge / confess the futility of and our weakness to bear up under at our sin, our trials or temptation  without Him.

Let us bless the Lord with all the first of our heart mind and soul; that as His, all that He grants us in love may be in the center of His blessing!

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