First Sunday after Trinity 03 June 2018 A.D.

                      First Sunday after Trinity   03 June 2018 A.D.     Holy Communion

 

                 The Epistle. 1 John 4:7-21                The Gospel. Luke 16:19-31

 

                            O God, the strength of all those who put their trust

                            in thee; Mercifully accept our prayers; and because,

                            through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no

                            good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace,

                            that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee,

                            both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord.    Amen

 

         What an interesting contrast found in our Epistle and Gospel for this Sunday.

 

On the one hand we read about the absolute LOVE of God. He loved us, not that we loved him, and because of his love, he sent his Son to be a substitute or propitiation for our sins.   Wow, God did that for us?   Yes, and if God did that for us, then we should love one another. John goes on to write because God=s Holy Spirit dwells in us we will become his ambassadors as such here on earth.  How is that you say?  >...know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, ....and we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world...(that) whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God...=   That is how we know that we are to be ambassadors of God here on earth.

     In these most trying times we should take comfort in the following;

>...herein is our love made

 perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love...=    AWe love him, because he first loved us.@

 

    Here now is the contrast I was writing about.   In our second passage, the Gospel reading, we find the only parable of Christ where names are used.  The name of Lazarus, not the brother of Mary and Martha, another fellow named Lazarus, is in horrible shape here on earth.  We read of his extreme poverty.  He dies and is carried to Abraham=s bosom by angels.  Notice the stark contrast to the description of the rich man=s death.  A...the rich man also died and was buried.@

 

   But that is not the end of the parable. The rich man is in hell. He is in torment and he can see Lazarus, who he surely knew from seeing him at his door day after day begging for just a crumb to eat.  Notice the two men have now switched places after death.  This is not about karma, or any other >what goes around comes around=; no it is about hell.   Theologians believe that this is the hell/sheol place that Christ would descent to where he would >lead captivity captive=.  This time was after his death and before his resurrection.  Those saints who died before Christ came and died on the Cross went to this place that is described in the particular parable.

    I would like to point out some very interesting concepts from this parable.

 1. Hell is real. It is a place of torment, it is dry and hot AND the person in hell does not die spiritually, they continue to suffer.

  Have you heard people bragging that they are so bad, that God would not have them in heaven?  In fact they say they want to go to hell to be with there friends.

 2. Notice something very ominous?   The rich man is ALONE!  There are no other people around him. He is by himself, suffering, being tormented.  I think one of the most frightful conditions humans can find themselves in is being alone.  We do like to be alone sometimes, but not days on end, or in the case of Hell, for eternity. 

  3. Now is the time of Salvation.  We must follow Jesus now, not after we are dead. It is too late by then. The rich man, even in his torment, has compassion on his five living brothers. He asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to testify to them about the place they will be going if they don=t repent.  What does the patriarch say to the rich man?  They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them.  The rich man is sure that if Lazarus goes back, his brothers will listen.  Abraham assures him that if they won=t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded by one who rose from the dead.

   Wow, in this parable, Jesus is making a very interesting prediction.  Even with all the evidence of the resurrection of Christ, people will still not believe.   Even with that fact in mind, Jesus still tells us in this parable, that we must follow him today, because after death it is too late.

   Preaching about hell is not politically correct.  The liberal churches say all we need to preach about is getting along with each other and maybe throw some love of God in for good measure.

 

   The problem with that is that if I do not warn you the listener, the reader of this message, that there is hell waiting for those who do not turn from their wickedness and live, then I have failed to warn you.  That is a very grave mistake on my part; I need to warn you so you do not go the way of the rich man.   And by the way, this is not saying that having wealth will condemn you to hell.  It is about what you do with that wealth while you are here on earth.  Christ had many friends and followers from all strata of life, both rich and poor, common laborer and learned, all parts of society were represented. 

    So what is our main message today?   God is love.  And in his love he demonstrated by sending his Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us and to lead us to life, that is eternal life.  We only have one opportunity to get right with God, now is the time of salvation.

   Beloved, who do you follow?  Is it the god of this world, or is it God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit?

Let us pray:

O LORD, we beseech thee, mercifully hear our prayers, and spare all those who confess their sins unto thee; that they, whose consciences by sin are accused, by thy merciful pardon may be absolved; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O MOST mighty God, and merciful Father, who hast compassion upon all men, and who wouldest not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his sin, and be saved; Mercifully forgive us our trespasses; receive and comfort us, who are grieved and wearied with the burden of our sins. Thy property is always to have mercy; to thee only it appertaineth to forgive sins. Spare us therefore, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed; enter not into judgment with thy servants, who are vile earth, and miserable sinners; but so turn thine anger from us who meekly acknowledge our vileness, and truly repent us of our faults, and so make haste to help us in this world, that we may ever live with thee in the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy hath promised forgiveness of sins to all those who with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 ALMIGHTY God, the fountain of all wisdom, who knowest our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking; We beseech thee to have com-passion upon our infirmities; and those things, which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask, vouchsafe to give us; for the worthiness of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 THE peace of God, which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord: And the Blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you, and remain with you always. Amen.

 

   December 2018   
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