Fourth Sunday after Easter 02 MAY A.D. 2021 Holy Communion

                       Fourth Sunday after Easter     02 MAY  A.D. 2021   

                Holy Communion

           The Epistle. St James 1:17-21                  The Gospel.  St. John 16:5-15

                                 O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly
                                  wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy
                                  people, that they may love the thing which thou com-
                                 mandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so,
                                 among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our
                                 hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to
                                 be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord.       Amen    

        Do you believe in coincidence or do you believe that God is in control?  I would like you to ponder something today. 
 Meditate on the Word of God that we find selected for this particular Sunday, the Fourth Sunday after Easter.  At first glance you see a familiar theme. God has sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Salvation. He has sent him to bring us back to God the Father.
Nothing that isn’t provable by the Old and New Testament proclamations about the first and second Advent of Christ the Redeemer.  
       Now I would like you to reflect on these two passages in light of the most recent events that have happened here in the United States in the last six to eight months.  Civil disobedience is a Constitutional right, the right to redress, peaceful assembly, righting wrongs in a civil and lawful manner, not I repeat not in the manner that has unfolded in the last few months.
      What is the difference you ask?   Truth. “...of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.”  
 What would be the description of these first fruit creatures?   
They would be a.) swift to hear, b. ) slow to speak, c.) slow to wrath.  
Why was this important?  “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.  Chaos, stirring up people with false information, causing multiple “crisis” around the nation and for that matter around the globe: all fit into the contrast of Christians v non-Christians. And just in case we didn’t get the point, James makes it clear what divides a believer from a non-believer.  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”   

        The total lack of Christian ethics, morality and witness is evident in the civil disobedience that has swept the nation lately.  There has been no personal responsibility taken for the destruction and chaos that has been promulgated in the name of some vague reading of the Constitution.  Destruction and confusion was not the intent of the writers of that document, a right to redress, a right to seek correction to wrongs, but not to destroy in the name of stated rights.     “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
          In our Epistle and Gospel readings today we find the answer to why this chaos is happening today. 

The Problem
      First, the faith once delivered has been side-tracked, watered down or not taught any more, this has been most detrimental to believer and non-believer, because it causes uncertainty and unrest.  This problem can be laid directly at the feet of the modern church. Or should we call it the post-modern church?  Because that church doesn’t want to offend, it doesn’t want to drive away potential monies given by the membership, there is no hard preaching done any more.
     Second, the concept of sin and its destructive nature to humans is no longer being preached in many of our churches today; the average church member has no idea why there is so much evil going on in the world around them.  Many books and articles have been penned that try to address the reason for “bad things happening to good people”, and yet they have for the most part missed the mark.   “All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.”  We all have the stain of Adam, the sin that the first couple introduced into the world; we are all under that curse. But unless we are taught that this is so, we will go about our lives in total ignorance of what is wrong in our lives.   
    The promised Holy Spirit, the Comforter that Christ Jesus told his followers was coming after Christ ascended into heaven, would be the guiding force to teach us right from wrong.
    Ok, so why isn’t it working?  This teaching of right from wrong is not being done in our churches today.  BECAUSE the churches have left the Truth and have gone after the World; abandoning the faith once given to it so many centuries ago.  The church has sought popularity and acceptance as a badge of success and in doing so the church has allowed the world to go to Hell and in many cases faithful members sitting in those pews week after week.  They are not being told the Truth.
   Great stuff!   Ok, what do we do as a faithful remnant?

The Solution 
     First and foremost we must come back to God. We must confess our sins and seek forgiveness for the same. We must stop living like the world. We must stop trying to win popularity contests with the world.  The prize is worthless. It is dung. It will only keep the unbeliever from knowing the way to Salvation. 
     Second. We must recognize that God has given us all the tools in the ‘tool box of life’  to show the world who is the Only Way to God the Father; that of course being Jesus Christ the Lord. 
     We have the whole Word of God revealed to us; it is in that great resource, the Bible.  And so we must read, digest and inwardly apply the Word to our lives and our souls.  God’s Word will not return void.  He has given us this great resource; we still have the liberty in this nation to study and use the Bible in our daily walk with Him.
    Third.  Pray.  Yes we must pray for those who have asked for prayer; whether it is for healing, solace, comfort or any other spiritual and even physical need, we must pray. 
 We must pray for each other. Ask God to guide and direct our lives. And we pray for those who may not ask us to pray for them, but who need the Savior and his gift of Salvation. 
   We must pray for those in authority, {St. Paul admonished us to do so} at all levels, local, state and national; all need our prayers to govern and do their duty as proscribed by the Judeo-Christian legal system that we currently live under. 
    Do you want confirmation on this topic that I have addressed today?  Reread the two passages of scripture, the one from St. James and the one from St. John.
    Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in discernment and understanding, ask for guidance and most especially ask for strength to help you in this very massive struggle that is gripping the nation.       The struggle is for the very soul of our great nation.  
     We are very close to seeing all of our freedoms taken from us in the name of civil defense or “social justice”.  Pray that God will shed His light on these United States and that the nation will repent and turn from her wicked ways and come back to God.    
May God have mercy on our Nation.
Let us pray:
O GOD we have heard with our ears, and our fathers have declared unto us, the noble works that thou didst in their days and in the old time before them. 
O Lord, arise, help us, and deliver us for thine honor. 
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; 
 As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

From our enemies defend us O Christ. 
Graciously look upon our afflictions. 
With pity behold the sorrows of our hearts. 
Mercifully forgive the sins of thy people. 
Favorably with mercy hear our prayers. 
O Son of David have mercy upon us. 
Both now and ever vouchsafe to hear us O Christ. 
Graciously hear us O Christ; graciously hear us, O Lord Christ. 
Minister, O Lord, let thy mercy be showed upon us; 
 As we do put our trust in thee.                  Amen
WE humbly beseech thee, O Father, mercifully to look upon our infirmities; and, for the glory of thy Name, turn from us all those evils that we most justly have deserved; and grant, that in all our troubles we may put our whole trust and confidence in thy mercy, and evermore serve thee in holiness and pureness of living, to thy honor and glory; through our only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ our Lord.                    Amen. 
May God be with you this coming week in all thing you do and say; that it may be for the honor and glory of His Name    THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore.  Beloved go in Peace.        Amen