240602 AOC Sunday Report

Anglican Orthodox Church Worldwide Communion

First Sunday after Trinity Sunday Report


D-Day – 6 June 1944 – 2024 is the 80 Year Anniversary 


Today is the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the landing operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, in Operation Overlord, during World War II.


The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing on 6 June 1944. 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved. The invasion required the transport of soldiers and material from the United Kingdom by troop-laden aircraft and ships, the assault landings, air support, naval interdiction of the English Channel and naval fire-support. The landings took place along a 50 mile stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.  There were over 11,000 casualties on our side.  Some of the early assault wave sustained casualty rates over 80 percent.


We are free today because so many gave their future for ours.

Remember them tomorrow.


The First Sunday after Trinity – June 2, 2024


First Sunday after Trinity Propers:


The propers are special prayers and readings from the Bible. There is a Collect for the Day; that is a single thought prayer, most written either before the re- founding of the Church of England in the 1540s or written by Bishop Thomas Cranmer, the first Archbishop of Canterbury after the refounding.


The Collect for the Day is to be read on Sunday and during Morning and Evening Prayer until the next Sunday. The Epistle is normally a reading from one of the various Epistles, or letters, in the New Testament. The Gospel is a reading from one of the Holy Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Collect is said by the minister as a prayer, the Epistle can be read by either a designated reader (as we do in our church) or by one of the ministers and the Holy Gospel, which during the service in our church is read by an ordained minister.

The propers are the same each year, except if a Red-Letter Feast, that is one with propers in the prayerbook, falls on a Sunday, then those propers are to be read instead, except in a White Season, where it is put off. Red Letter Feasts, so called because in the Altar Prayerbooks the titles are in red, are special days. Most of the Red-Letter Feasts are dedicated to early saints instrumental in the development of the church, others to special events. Some days are particularly special and the Collect for that day is to be used for an octave (eight days) or an entire season, like Advent or Lent. The Propers for today are found on Page  188-190, with the Collect first:

The Collect for the First Sunday after Trinity

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.

The Epistle for the First Sunday after Trinity. St. John iv. 7.

BELOVED, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 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. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.


The Gospel for the First Sunday after Trinity. St. Luke xvi. v. 19.

THERE was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is com-forted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

On Point

Someone asked, where do the quotes come from? The answer is from the people who uttered them. But, how did you find them? Oh, that. Some from Bishop Jerry, others from Rev. Geordie and many from Rev Bryan Dabney, a few from other places, but overall mostly from Bryan. He always has some great ones to share. On to the On Point quotes –


On Faith and Love (Charity)

It is “the substance of things hoped for.” Faith and hope go together; and the same things that are the object of our hope, are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation that God will perform all that He has promised to us in Christ…It is “the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1) Faith demonstrates to the eye of the mind the reality of things that cannot be discerned by the eye of the body. Faith is the firm assent of the soul to the divine revelation and every part of it, and sets to its seal that God is true. It is a full approbation of all that God has revealed as holy, just, and good.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

Till men have faith in Christ, their best services are but glorious sins.

Thomas Brooks ( 1608-1680)


The faith which goes no further than the intellect can neither save nor sanctify. It is no faith at all. It is unbelief.

HORATIUS BONAR (1808-1889)


Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14) Friends try to accommodate one another. Christ has made the ultimate accommodation for you by providing the means for you to be adopted into the family of God. Does he ask that we also die for the prize? No, he wants our undying love. If he is our best friend (and if we have any wisdom at all, he is), we shall do all in our power to deserve such a friend by our loyalty, faithfulness, and love. We shall do nothing to bring shame or disgrace on such a friend. Sin does bring such disgrace and he tells us that we are better than that!

Reason for Love – Bishop Jerry L. Ogles


“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:22


There are plenty of passages that speak of the importance of love in general, but the Bible speaks of charity to point us to a specific kind of love. Charity is the love toward others that suffers long with them and is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4), that does not behave unseemly, seek to get its own way, or is easily provoked (1 Corinthians 13:5); that rejoices not in the iniquity of others (1 Corinthians 13:6); that bears, believes, hopes, and endures (1 Corinthians 13:7). It is the grace that proves the believer to be mature in his faith and practice. May the Lord give us all more charity.

David Reagan

On Trinity

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and these three agree in one.

I John 5:7-8


Our Lord has many weak children in His family, many dull pupils in His school, many raw soldiers in His army, many lame sheep in His flock. Yet He bears with them all, and casts none of them away.
Arthur W. Pink

Jerry Ogles

Presiding Bishop

Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide

We are fortunate to get copies of Bishop Jerry’s you tube links and sermon notes.

As members of the Anglican Orthodox Church Worldwide Communion, Scripture is our primary reference. But, what positions do we take based on that Scripture? We have adopted The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. They were not intended as a complete statement of the Christian faith, but of the position of the Anglican Church in relation to the Roman Catholic Church and other Protestant churches.

It is critical you understand the Articles. Bishop Jerry has embarked on a series to cover them. They are about ten minutes or so, you should take the time to listen to them.

Article Two



Article Three

Bishop Jerry creates videos on various subjects, they last just under ten minutes and this week’s video is listed below:

The Parable of the Lost Sheephttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6jFtfTFE6o&t=7s


Today’s sermon starts off with the collect, and like always, it will give you a lot to consider in your heart.

The First Sunday after Trinity-Bishop Jerry L. Ogles

The Collect.

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.


Bishop Ogles Sermon is on the Gospel Lesson in the Propers for the Day.

Before we look more closely at this great parable of Jesus, we must understand that Christ never uses a parable of things physical or spiritual whose principle is not consistent with the truth.  This story of the rich man and Lazarus may be just as actual as it is figurative. God’s principles never change and neither does His truth.

The parable addresses the issues of the hereafter in stark illustration of Paradise and Hell.  There are those whose wealth dim their eyes to mercy and compassion, and encrypt their hearts in greed and malice. There are, on the other hand, those who would prefer to give whatever material possession they have if it will render a greater good in improving the life of that one standing nearby. Because their hearts are not centered on the material, their souls are fixed on goodness and mercy. Christ does not mean to teach that there is evil in riches, but in the way that we may covet such wealth. There is no honor is being desperately poor, either, but the circumstances of life may render any of us unable to provide for ourselves and impoverished by misfortune. When poor men, such as Lazarus, are made to beg by the gates of the wealthy, this condition is an illustration of the sin in the sin that lies covered in the purple garments of the wealthy who refuse to share their excess with those who are so deprived even of food to eat.

It should be noted that God does not always provide material reward to His righteous in this world. The tables are often turned so that the wealthy are the wicked, and the poor, the righteous. It does not necessarily need to be so, but often is. Even a very righteous man may be corrupted when he comes into great wealth. He may forget the estate from which he has come, and dwell only on the improvement of his finances.

We must not misapply Scriptural counsel regarding money: it is not money itself that is evil, but the love thereof.  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Tim 6:10) If God rewards you will a million dollars in your account, the mere possession of so much money does not make you a bad person. The manner in which you use the money for good is a measure of your virtue.

The deference which Christ shows to the poor man in giving him a Godly name, Lazarus, or Eleazar, is notable. The name means, God is MY Help. We have churches in the AOC in parts of the world in which every member depends upon God alone for the next morsel of food they consume. This Holy name imputes a righteous character to the poor man.

But what of the rich man? He is given no name at all. Why do you suppose this is so? Because if our names are not written in the Book of Life, then they are not written at all. In fact, there are no names in Hell. Why would you need a name there?

19There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day This man was filled with himself and cared not a whit for those around him. He had much more than he needed, yet was unwilling to share a morsel from his well-stocked pantry to a poor man diseased and dying. The love of wealth petrifies the heart and closes its gates of mercy. Christ only refers to this man as a “rich man.” He has no redeeming qualities that recommend him to God.

 20And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores You may wonder why Lazarus is a beggar? Could it be a result of his complete helplessness due to disease. He could not help himself – he had to be helped. Someone must help those around us who are unable, due to tragic circumstances, to help themselves. Before the advent of utopian and socialistic philosophy, the Church and Community were the source of help – and still should be.

21And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. He desired no great thing – only to be fed the crumbs from the rich man’s table. These the rich man did not need, but it is doubtful that the rich man cared enough to give them to Lazarus. Even though men of means showered no mercy on their own kind, at least the dogs lived up to their reputation of loyalty. The dogs comforted Lazarus – not with food which they had not – but with compassion and love. Are we better than dogs?

22And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried.  How casually does the LORD make reference to that grave which awaits every beloved reader of this devotion. It shall come to pass that each of us shall die. Then what?

You will observe a great difference in the disposition of Lazarus after death, and that of the rich man after death. Christ says of the beggar (he) was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom Truly the destination of all righteous souls. Abraham is father, not only to the Hebrews, but all who believe in the Promised Seed – Jesus Christ! What a royal sendoff did Lazarus receive. Though a poor, sick beggar, he was honored with the dignity of being carried by the angels to Abraham’s Bosom. Angels are important heavenly dignitaries, but not so dignified as to ignore any soul that dies in Christ.

How does the honor paid Lazarus differ from the disposition of the Rich Man’s body? The rich man also died, and was buried. He was placed, not in the Bosom of Abraham, but in the depth of the earth – his eternal home, or ultimately, Hell. Instead of the angels carrying him to Abraham’s Bosom, the rich man lies in the cursed soil of the world. Quite well do the final words of a poem by Sir Walter Scott summarize the matter:


“For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored , and unsung.”


But Scott’s words do not fully reveal the extent of the tragedy of such a lifestyle – the fires of Hell await such a one the very moment his eyes are blinded by death.

23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosomChrist does not leave the reality of hell open for question, but states the fact outright. There are fires in Hel, and torments as well. There are no medical stations there to relieve the pain for, in Hell, the character of its citizens rule – NO MERCY! The rich man can see Lazaraus “afar off” in the bosom of Abraham. Heaven is a far-off place from Hell. But the wicked can see the delight of those in Heaven.

24And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame The pride of wealth no longer dominates the rich man’s thinking. He takes no longer pride in his fine raiment for that was burned away the moment he was cast into Hell. The rich man begs for that which he had none of in life – MERCY! Lazarus is now rich, and the rich man a beggar. He begs for mercy to be delivered by the very finger of him to whom he granted no mercy. Hell is a hot dry place. The drought never ends there. It is interesting to note that there is no evidence that Lazarus is aware of the rich man’s condition in Hell. Such knowledge might dampen his joy in Heaven for he obviously was a man of compassion as opposed to the rich man. Hell is a place of torment. God sends no one to Hell – we send ourselves.

25But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. We sometimes find men in conditions and circumstances from which we cannot extricate them, but we still should have what kindness we can have and show respectful regard. Observe with what sympathy Abraham addresses the rich man in Hell: He calls him “son!” It is possible that this man could have been a true son of Abraham as was Lazarus had he followed in that faith of Abraham in Christ. But he was more likely a son by hereditary descent and not spiritual. The temporary luxuries of riches born out of greed will avail nothing in Heaven. The pleasure is so temporary, and eternity so very long – endless in fact.

26And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. We must recognize that the distance is so great between Heaven and Hell that none can pass to and from. No one has descended to Hell and returned to tell of it, and the same is true of Heaven regardless the cheap little books of commercial fodder marketed today. If you believe that you can visit Hell, you probably will do so for longer than you wish.

27Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Even the wicked in Hell are aware of the lost condition of their loved ones. Does this give cause for pause? Those in Hell would do anything to save their loved ones (for the damned also love their own) from coming to such a place of hot torment.

 29Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. Have we, too, heard the voice of Moses from the beginning in Genesis? Have we heard and heeded the writings of the prophets and the Gospel and Epistles that tell of Christ? If so, it is enough! We need no astounding signs to prove our faith else it is not faith. An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matt 12:39-40) Is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior enough for you, or do you seek cleverly designed signs of men?

30And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repentReally? Christ rose from the dead and the obstinate, faithless Jewish rulers still hated Him. Faith is based in hope and love, not sure evidence.

     31And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.  If our faith is not founded on God’s Word, no other considerations are important. We believe because God’s Love is reflected to our hearts in the hope and reality revealed by Scripture. If our hearts are made of lead, the iron Magnet will not attract it. There must be a kinship (even if distant) in the heart that responds to the Call of God.


Do you have that kinship?


First Sunday after Trinity


Sermon – Bishop Jack Arnold – Time and Action
Bishop of the Diocese of the West- AOC USA

Church of the Faithful Centurion – Descanso, California


Consider these words from the Collect:


… the strength of all those who put their trust in thee; … 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…


This is a little longer Collect than usual, but in it we acknowledge God is the source of our strength, as without Him we are weak and cannot do any true good.  Thus, we ask His help or grace to do His Will in both in our thoughts and actions. When we are faced with an opportunity to act, we must act. This is something that my father, Bishop Hap Arnold was very good at. To the best of the ability whenever he was able, he chose to act for Him. He also knew very well he needed the help of the Holy Ghost in order to accomplish his missions. The theme of us needing help is a consistent theme through all the collects, because it is based on the simple truth, we cannot help ourselves and we need true Divine Guidance in order to make it into heaven.  We need His Guidance to perform the actions we need to follow the course Jesus set for us.


And, what is the first action we are to take?  To love one another.  Saint John pointed out if we do not love our fellow creatures here on earth whom we have seen and touched, how then can we claim to have love for God, whom not one of us have seen?  We do not love God if we do not love our fellow humans. Even if they have strayed a long way off the path, we are still called to love them and help them if they want to be helped. It does not matter how we feel about them personally, it is what God has called us to do and what Jesus has shown us through these actions. It is harder to do than say, but it is something that must be done no matter how hard it is.


We are called to love individuals. How do we love individuals? The first step is if we have unrighteous anger and or hatred in our hearts to cease that towards them.  First hatred and unrighteous anger needs to be stopped, for it is not a virtue of God. Hate stems from sin and evil and from Satan. There is no individual on this earth worth hating. Ultimately hate will rot away your heart and soul until you have none left effectively. It will ruin you physically and mentally. It will take a toll on your body. Hate is not unlike weeds in our garden. Hate will eat at the garden of our soul until there is nothing good left, unless we utilize the Holy Spirit and weed out the hatred and negative emotions that stem from Satan and not God.


Hate is not worth the energy that it consumes. Instead of hating people, try to love them; a positive force instead of a negative force. It is easier said than done and sometimes it is really hard not to hate somebody, but whenever you find yourself doing that, think of the consequences of hating somebody and switch to loving them instead.


However, loving an individual does not mean that you approve of their acts that are sinful and harmful to one’s health, spiritual or physical. This is concept which confuses many today. They think we are condemning them, when in reality that is far, far from the truth. We cannot condone such things as smoking or homosexual acts or abortion. Though we may know individuals who do these things, we must despise the sin, but realize these people, no matter how truly fallen they may be (As Bishop Hap wisely noted, some are worse than others, but none are better. As Paul says, all fall short), are people created in the express image of God by God. Thus, we have to follow the Summary of the Law and the Ten Commandments in our dealings with them, even if we do not agree with their sinful habits and lifestyles.


God loved us so much He sent His only Son to die for our sins.  That is true love.  Not that we love Him, but that first He loved us!  God is the source of true love and He is the reason true love has so many wonderful qualities, so strong and enduring. Consider how much God loves us, that He sent His Only Begotten Son, that all who believe should not perish but have everlasting life. It must have been hard for God to send His Only Begotten Son to Earth to die and ultimately rise again for our sins, but He did it. He and Jesus have provided us with the ultimate example in leadership and doing one’s duty, even if it results in one’s temporal death. So, if God first loved us, ought we also not love each other?  No one has seen God at any time.  Yet, He loves us and we say we love Him.  If we do love one another, then God is in us, the Holy Ghost, and we are in Him.  Be bold, the world will end sometime; for each of us this world ends when we leave here.  Fear not, trust in God and dread naught.


Do not be afraid to love one another, regardless of what any man says. Do not fear man, only fear God, the great Judge, and Jesus the Advocate, and the Spirit, the Purifier, Guiding Light. Man can do nothing in comparison to God. Man can only hurt us physically; they cannot hurt our souls. God and His love will keep fear and the damage it does at bay.  Love each other and act on that love.


Jesus illustrates perfectly in this parable what happens when we only think of ourselves and do not help or even think of others. He could have taken pity on him and actually helped him, like the Good Samaritan. Instead, he just let him die, figuring that that was the end of him.  Lazarus was a rather disgusting feature of his world; when he died, the rich man was pleased not to have to pass by him.  Yet, it never entered into his head to help.


Why was he this way? It was because he was a selfish person who only thought of himself and how he was inconvenienced by Lazarus’s presence, and never stopped to think of what Lazarus was going through and how he could help Lazarus. This man was the total opposite of the Good Samaritan in every way. There are sadly way too many people in this world like the rich man, and not just those of high-income status but those of low-income status too. This is a problem that effects everyone due to our sinful nature regardless of our income status. We must do our best to let God into our hearts and fight this sinful nature, so we can act more like the Good Samaritan and less like the rich man from the parable.


How can we prevent ourselves from becoming like the rich man? Put your trust in God and dread naught.  Love those around you and ACT on that love.  It does not matter if they are the same religion as you, but you still must love and act towards them all the same.  That does not mean baring your throat to the Koran following Muslims; but it does mean treating them with kindness and charity until you must act to defend you and your way of life from them.  They deserve pity, for as they follow Allah, that is the Devil, as Christ said They know not what they do.


Think how you can help, not how you can “enjoy” life. Helping never means supporting those who do not feel like supporting themselves.  For dependency breeds slothfulness and contempt.  Dependency destroys the soul.


What is does mean is facilitating a way for those who do not have what they need to earn what they need; to bring them the means of acquiring those things which they need.  Those things are spiritual as well as physical.  A hand up; not a hand out.  You will find out the more you help, the more you enjoy real life. Whether it is helping somebody at the office, around the neighborhood or a friend, there is immense pleasure from the result of helping people, so much more than feathering your own nest, so to speak.  It is not only more blessed to give than to receive, but it brings a lot more happiness into your life. This is hard to do.  We want to concentrate on what makes us feel good about ourselves right here and right now.  We have to be coerced into staying on the narrow path upward and inward.  But that is where our home is.


Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.


The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?


It is by our actions we are known.  Be of God – Live of God – Act of God

Yves M. Méra

Presiding Bishop AOC France Anglican Orthodox Church Worldwide


We are fortunate to have a sermon from the Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Orthodox Church of France and the Administrative Coordinator of Europe and Africa. As you will read, he is an excellent writer. The sermon is easy to read and provides much insight.


SERMON for the 2nd Sunday after Trinity

Gospel Readings: Luke 14:16-24; 1 John 3:13-24.



In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.


When Our Lord Jesus Christ has harsh or hurtful things to say to us, He does so in parables. The parable of the guests at the Last Supper is one of them, a particularly violent one.


In this parable, Jesus says that “A certain man made a great supper, and bade many” (Luke 14:16). The previous verse clearly draws a parallel with the royal wedding of the Lamb and the Church, his beloved bride (Luke 14:15): “… one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. It is therefore indeed the Kingdom of Heaven, and the “certain man” in the parable can only be God Himself, the King of Heaven.


Our Father “bade many” and these people are God’s called. Imagine their privilege to be invited to a royal feast! Who would refuse an invitation to dine at King Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles? All those whom President Macron invited there did not need to be asked. They all came, and for a little they would have fought to get in. Fortunately, the security service was present in large numbers, clearly visible.


And what does God say in this case? “And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.” Question: “Who is this servant sent by the Father?”; Is he one of the prophets? No, for the prophecy stopped four centuries before Christ, and in their time everything was not ready to welcome the Messiah, far from it, since Israel was indulging in pagan idolatry. For everything to be ready, more than a prophet was needed – a forerunner: John the Baptist (John 1:19-23): “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” By his own admission, John the Baptist is neither the Messiah nor a prophet, but the one who prepares hearts for the coming of the Messiah (Mark 1:4-5): “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.” John’s baptism is a baptism of repentance, but it only prepares hearts to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit by purifying them and causing them to renounce sin, Satan, his pomps and works. It’s a bit like washing and putting on your evening dress to go to dinner at Versailles, in the Hall of Mirrors. We dress up, we put on makeup, and we silence our usual recriminations, in order to present ourselves in the best light. And let the party begin!


And who are the guests at the royal dinner? The Jewish people, prepared by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:5-6): “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.” All were repentant and baptized by John, before the coming of the Messiah, the only begotten Son of God. All? No, because the religious leaders resisted, they took a dim view of this competition with their official assemblies (Matthew 3:7-9): “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” “We have Abraham to our father!” Inevitably, this makes one think of those descendants of Reformed Catholics (i.e. Protestants) who pride themselves on having Huguenots among their ancestors, or even Camisards from the Cevennes, victims of the King’s soldiers, and look down on those whom they think are not part of their genealogy, or their coterie, without even bothering to verify it. I know something about it!


And they all with one consent began to make excuse.” All of them are hypocrites! Both the Pharisees and Sadducees – unmasked by John the Baptist – and the Judeans baptized by the same John the Baptist. All of them have abjured and put themselves back under the thumb of the treacherous religious leaders who forbid them to go to the feast of the King of Heaven. They are kept in fear of punishment by rejection by the community, under social pressure, rather than in fear of God and His Judgment on the last day. Here too, I know something about it.


Naturally, they invent all possible pretexts, from the most serious to the most fanciful and far-fetched, to apologize. See for yourself: “I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it” – obliged by whom, please? By no one, of course! “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them” Can’t he leave them alone, at rest for a few hours? And what does this fad of choosing precisely the time of the banquet at Versailles to try his oxen mean? Isn’t that making a mockery? Finally, a third lad has a valid reason for a Jew: “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” A Jewish marriage exempted the groom from all military and civil service for twelve months after the wedding. For us, this is a far-fetched excuse, but not for a Jew, for it is biblical. You will note that this one does not ask to be excused like the others; he is sure of his good right: “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come” Period; there is no arguing about it.


And what is the reaction of the King of Heaven, please? (Luke 14:21): “So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” The Jews recuse themselves and reject the invitation to the feast of the King of Heaven, which is a marked rudeness. In England, as in France during the Christian Kings’ time, it was impossible to refuse a royal invitation, whether to Versailles or to Buckingham Palace. If you don’t turn up, the police come to your home and take you there by force! There is no question of the royal table being saddened by empty chairs. If the Jews do not come, others will take their place, and this time they will have no choice: God’s grace is irresistible! (Luke 14:22-23): “And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Not a single chair should be left empty! The King can jolly well count, and He knows the exact number of chairs and cutlery set up at the table of the great feast. There are many. The King will see to it that all of them are filled, and nothing and no one will be able to oppose Him.


God gave a certain freedom to Adam, the first man. Adam misused it and his freedom was taken away from him. Even the Jewish people misused their so-called freedom: locked in submission to Satan, and while they believed themselves to be free, they rejected the Messiah sent by the Father, Our Lord Jesus Christ, screaming “Let him be crucified!” (Matthew 27:22 & 23). They betrayed, seized, tortured, and murdered the suffering Servant whom the Father had sent them. And they shut their own eyes and ears, to his resurrection on the third day.


“… salvation is of the Jews” Jesus says to the Samaritan woman in John 4:22. And paradoxically, the Jews reject a Salvation that does not come from themselves but from Christ alone. We know many of those people today, and not all of them are Jews. They have Luther for a father, or Calvin, or this or that revival preacher in sight.


Now salvation is in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12): “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” In other words, to refuse God’s call is to misuse one’s freedom, to damn oneself for eternity. For we have but one King, one God, one Lord and master, one Father: it is not Abraham, as the Jews think, but the God of Abraham: Father, Son, Holy Ghost. The nuance is significant!


My friends, let us be careful not to find excuses when God calls us (Romans 11:29): “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” God will not change His mind. And the consequences of our eventual refusal are particularly disastrous (Luke 14:24): “For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” Who, then, are those who will partake of the feast in the Kingdom of God? They are those to whom God has given the grace to force them to enter it, even against their insignificant will as men hitherto bound by sin. See how Paul was converted on the road to Damascus by an apparition of Jesus Christ, when he breathed nothing but hatred towards Christians and against Christ…


Seized by the grace of God, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit that dwells in us, we are transformed into the image of Christ and to His likeness. We enter the family of God, the King of Heaven, and we become its adopted children. Admit that this is enough to make jealous those who, “bidden, shall taste of my supper” (Luke 14:24). They will have declined the Father’s invitation, too long, too late.


(1 John 3:13): “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” The world is going to perdition; It knows this but voluntarily blinds itself to its unfortunate fate. It prefers to end up in hell than to submit to God and His Law, by practicing His Commandments. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (verse 14). Loving one’s brothers can lead far away: to the stake! “… he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (verse 16).


Love costs something: “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (verses 17-18). Let us be generous with our Christian brothers and sisters. Let’s not get attached to what we own and what thieves can take away from us. Let us cleave to Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and only Saviour. There is no greater wealth than belonging to Him.


And because we belong to Him, we are subject to Him and we put in practice His blessed Commandments (verses 22-24): “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” John gives us here a summary of the Christian life: A whole program of love of God and obedience to His holy Will.


Now, His Will is that we love one another, as an exemplary family. And the Book of Common Prayer invites us to pray For a Blessing on the Families of the Land: “… enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we be evermore kindly affectioned with brotherly love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (1928 BCP p. 335).


My friends, let us not reject the Lord’s call to love and serve Him. The world hates us, but this world will pass, whereas we shall live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven, dining at the table of the feast that God has prepared for us. Let us not be afraid. Let’s go for it, head on, because everything is ready. Amen.

Rt. Rev. Yves Méra, AOC Bishop of France.

Anglican Orthodox Church Worldwide

Rev Bryan Dabney of Saint John’s Sunday Sermon

We are fortunate to have Bryan’s Sunday Sermon. If you want people to come to The Truth, you have to speak the truth, espouse the truth and live the truth. This is really a good piece and I commend it to your careful reading.

First Sunday after Trinity

In our gospel lesson, we read our Lord’s warning that, not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven (St. Matthew 7:21). Our modern world possesses many similarities with ancient world from whence Christianity came. For instance, a tiny minority today controls a sizeable portion of the wealth and political power in this and every land. And like then, our own time has been marred by strife between countries and nations, as well as between ethnicities within the same. Consider also that prior to the birth of our Lord, the Roman Republic had been undone by the very men whose desired to possess it. And with its demise, a new institution— the Roman Imperium— arose like a Phoenix from the ashes of the old republic. Similarly, the American republic is being slowly bled to death by those who would possess its power to do their bidding. And finally, the world that Christianity came from was dominated by idolatry and paganism. That is patently the case today in America and other places that used to call themselves “Christian.” There are any number of so-called deities that have replaced the LORD— money, fame, sports prowess, political acumen, et cetera.


While history does indeed tell us that the Christian faith grew in spite of the obstacles which were arrayed against it; even so, the Devil has influenced many souls to accept his alternative “gospel” as opposed to the one preached by the apostles. And so by the latter half of the first century A.D., we find the apostles warning their followers about those who would seek to divide, confuse and distress the faithful. Consider the words of the apostle Paul to the Ephesian elders: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them (Acts 20:28-30). And St. Jude advised the faithful, to contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares… ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (3-4). Thus it would behoove every faithful minister to warn their congregations about any person or group who would put forth the name of Christ without adhering to his teachings. One of the first such heresies was Gnosticism. The late Dr. Jesse Hurlbut observed that the Gnostics of the first century A.D. “… believed that out of the supreme God

emanated a large number of inferior deities, some beneficent, other malignant… that [Christ was] one of those ‘emanations’… They [also] interpreted the Scriptures in an allegorical manner, making every statement mean whatever the interpreter saw fit.”


The modern versions of Gnosticism are little different. They deny the existence of the Trinity; the divine nature of our Lord; the personage of the Holy Ghost; the eternal punishment of the wicked; as well as the atoning work of our Lord on the cross. They also employ selected Bible tenets apart from their intended meanings as found in Scripture. While claiming the name of Christ, their principles are framed in the form of, “I want…etc.”. In short, it is the church of “ME”. A “ME” church styles its precepts in terms of the individual. In other words, “It is the world the way I want it; the church the way I want it; relationships the way I want them; and of course, morality the way I want it.” Ergo, it should not be at all surprising to the observant Christian that many of the cults and New Age religions of today are derived in some degree from Classical Gnosticism.


And this belief system is older than most of its adherents might imagine. The prophet Isaiah presented us with the specifics as to where such ideas originated when he wrote, How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations. For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God… I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High ( 14:12-14). That last phrase, I will be like the most High, was passed on to humanity at the fall in the Garden of Eden. When Satan entered the serpent and seduced Eve to sin, he lured her in with these words, Ye shall not die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:4-5). Ever after, God expected mankind to do what was good because he knew the difference between good and evil. But the desire to be as gods has been one of the principal motivators which has fueled mankind’s rebellion against his Creator. And with

that in mind, God has set forth within the pages of Scripture the dismal record of profane man’s efforts to create religious paths to suit himself.


Let us begin with Cain. Now Cain offered God what he wanted him to have as a sacrifice and not what God desired (Genesis 4:1-7). The children of Israel had Aaron fashion an idol to satisfy their fleshly minds apart from the commandments which God had given to them (Exodus 32:1-7). And, on account of their specious reasoning, Korah and Dathan opposed the leadership of Moses in spite of the fact

that God had expressly called him to lead the people (Numbers 16:1-3). The wicked and willful nature of man is exemplified in the Judges 21:25 wherein it was written… every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Unregenerate men, after having received the gifts of God, will, nevertheless, turn

to their own reasoning in order to justify their intentions rather than trusting in God’s promises much as Jeroboam did when he turned away from the promises of God to make gods for the children of Israel to worship (I Kings 12:26-33). And just like Jeroboam, foolish humanity continues to buy into the Devil’s scheme of creating gods for themselves as if their works were somehow superior to those of the Creator (Isaiah 44:8-20). The false choices of the unregenerate will result in God’s wrath being poured out upon them. And if our worship does not follow his commands then we are in danger as well of becoming castaway (Jeremiah 7:17-20; 9:12-14; 23:25-36; Ezekiel 8:1-18; Daniel 9:13). God has warned us in no uncertain terms that those who would substitute the commandments of men for

those of our righteous and holy God are vain in their imaginations, and will be despoiled (St. Matthew 15:1-9; Romans 1:21; Colossians 2:8, 18-23).


The foolish nature of unconverted man has time and again opened him up to spiritual deception by the forces of darkness. In such a state he may use the name of Christ all the while denying that Christ is the Saviour and Redeemer kinsman of mankind (I St. John 4:1-14; 5:1-13). The error of the wicked will eventually become so complete that they will not even entertain the desire to repent when faced with the very wrath of God which will fall upon them (II Thessalonians 2:1- 12; Revelation 9:20). Some may ask, “Do those who are now in such a state possess the opportunity to repent and turn unto God in the name of Jesus Christ?” Of course they do. As long as they are in this life, repentance and  acceptance are open to all who have sinned against God’s word and commandments. There will however come a time when their decision will be finalized and such will occur either at their deaths, or when the Antichrist comes with his mark: because all who accept it will face an eternity of torment (Revelation 14:9-11).


So what should the faithful Christian do to avoid God’s coming wrath? First of all, one should heed the warning of St. Paul who said: Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (II Corinthians 6:14). The unequal yoke exists because the Devil isn’t interested in simple parity with God. He desires supremacy. No regenerated person will find safety or comfort for his soul amongst those who have rejected the Godhead. Those who find themselves in such fellowship ought to forthwith get themselves hence. As the apostle Paul warned, Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye

separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you (II Corinthians 6:17). In plain language God is saying: “GET OUT NOW!” for each day you remain within that body, you are likely to fall prey to further deception.


Secondly, beware of false prophets and teachers who have a mere appearance of righteousness, but are inwardly ravening wolves (St. Matthew 7:15). False ministers are also described as hirelings because they are insincere. When temptation and trial come, they will disappear leaving their congregants to fend for themselves (St. John 10:12). Such persons long ago surrendered to the adversary and will not stand up for the truth of God. For the regenerate Christian, there should be no doubt that all false religions are shepherded by Satan’s messengers. These have sought to trap as many unsuspecting souls as they can in Satan’s scheme of things. As our Lord called on us to be fishers of men (St. Matthew

4:19), so the evil one has trained up his minions to ensnare men.


Thirdly, avoid the sins of the flesh (I Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:3-7). The apostle Paul noted in his epistle to the Romans that those, who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (1:32). So, one does not have to commit a particular sin to be guilty of it. One need only approve of those who

commit the same. God will judge your tolerance for evil as an acceptance of evil.


Fourthly, put on the whole armor of God and stand ready for battle against the forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:10-18). There is a great spiritual war going on around us and we all must choose a side. If you choose to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, then you will face persecution and tribulation, nevertheless you will triumph with our Lord at his coming and receive the gift of everlasting life in his kingdom. If you reject his free gift of salvation, you will, by default, wind up in the camp of the evil one and will be forever lost in the fires of perdition. Donning the whole armor of God will protect you in this fight. You must understand that in this conflict there will be no surrender, no negotiation, and no pity. You cannot placate God, and you certainly cannot placate the Devil except to purchase a momentary pleasure which will result in an eternity of heartache and misery (Revelation 20:11-15).


Finally, we must attempt to rescue those who have fallen into pit of false religion by contending for the faith through our witness on our Lord’s behalf (St. Jude 3); by praying for and beseeching God to give them repentance that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (II St. Timothy 2:26). That means reaching into the fire and pulling as many out as we can (St. Jude 22-23). To aid us in this cause, we must ask the LORD for an in-filling of the Holy Ghost, for only through his presence within and around us will we be enabled to truly serve our Lord in his harvest.


The day of Christ is at hand and we need to be instant in season, out of season. We need to reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine (II St. Timothy 4:2). So be in prayer and read your bibles and do not hesitate to ask God for assistance. We have friends and loved-ones who are in danger and need to be warned. We cannot quit now regardless of how late it is for only the Father knows the day and the hour of our Lord’s return. We should not be about condemnation but about reclamation. Yes, we must warn the unregenerate about the terror of the Lord, but the central message to them ought to be about being made right with God and following his path to eternity. Therefore, be Bereans

(Acts 17:10-11); be watchful (St. Luke 21:36); be ready (St. Matthew 24:44); and be armored (Ephesians 6:10). If we will keep the commandments of our Lord, we will be blessed and our works will have value in his sight.


Let us pray,

Holy Father, pour upon us the Holy Ghost the Comforter, that being so filled we will fight the good fight of faith and help rescue those who have been ensnared by the false religions which Satan has established to cloud men’s minds; for this we ask in the name of thine only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.



Have a blessed week,



The Rev. Don Fultz
Rector of St. Peter’s AOC
located in the AOC National Office

Gospel Lesson:  ST. LUKE 16:  19 – 31


The parable told by Jesus in today’s gospel reading stands alone in the Bible.  It is only told in the gospel of Luke.  Also, it is the only passage of Scripture which describes the feelings of the unconverted after death.  For this reason, as well as for many others, this parable deserves special attention.  It was spoken directly to the Pharisees and his disciples but it applies to anyone who wants to get to heaven!  The Pharisees believed that wealth was a blessing from God but Jesus tells them one still must believe and have faith and use their wealth wisely.  This parable is the only one in which a proper name is used by Jesus.  Lazarus means “He whom God has helped” or “God is my help” suggesting the beggar’s faith in God and patience dependence upon Him.   It was his faith and not his poverty which at last brought him into Abraham’s bosom.    Thus, Lazarus represents the pious indigent who stood at the opposite extreme from the proud, covetous, and luxury-loving Pharisee who represents the rich man in the parable.


From the parable, we learn that a man’s worldly condition is no indication of his state in the sight of God.  The Lord Jesus describes to us two men, one was very rich and the other very poor.  The one was dressed in “purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.”  The other was a mere “beggar,” who had nothing that he could call his own.  And yet of these two, the poor man had grace and the rich man had none.  The poor man lived by faith and walked in the steps of Abraham, while the rich man was a thoughtless, selfish, worldly, and dead in trespasses and sins.


Some background Information.


In this 16th chapter of St. Luke, Jesus has been teaching about materialism and money—starting with the unjust Stewart, serving Mammon, and stewardship. In verse 13 Jesus says “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.   Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”   According to Matthew Henry, the definition of Mammon is a Syriac word that signifies ‘gain”.  Some would consider this just financial or money gains.   But Matthew Henry broadens the definition to any gain that is in the world…the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life are all mammon.  It is impossible to serve God, if your heart is set on something else.


Jesus’s audience included his disciples (16:1) as well as the Pharisees who loved money” and ridiculed his stand on money (16:14).   Jesus affirms the validity of the law, rightly interpreted (16:16-18) –important to the Pharisees.   Then Jesus ends with the Parable of the Rich Man and Poor man which is our focus this morning.  This parable condemns the Pharisees for their love of money and neglect of showing compassion for the poor.  (16:19-31).


There are several points Jesus was making when He told this Parable.   The main one was of course obeying the two great commandments; Loving God with all your heart, soul and mind, and loving your Neighbor as your-self.  These are not independent from one another. You cannot love one without loving the other.   Being rich is not a sin in itself but the “love of Money” is a sin (1Tim 6:10) because as Jesus tells us in 16:13, “you cannot serve God and Mammon.”


The rich man in the parable major love was the love of money not God or his neighbor, Lazarus.

Every day, the Rich man would pass him by as He went through his gate without even given him some crumbs from his table.  The poor man was in such a crippled condition that He had to be hand carried by someone to sit by the entrance to his Gate.   He had opened sores that would be licked by the wild dogs.   In Jesus days there were real poor people in need.


The rich man was not lost because of his wealth but rather by his lack of compassion towards his fellow man.  The rich man’s failure to help Lazarus, a fellow Israelite, revealed he had a wicked heart, a non-repentant heart.   By refusing to provide for the poor beggar sitting at his gate, the rich man was rebelling against God who, through Moses, had given Israel specific instructions on how those with resources were to treat their poor fellow countrymen (Deut 15:7-11).   They were to open their hands wide in providing for the poor and needy in their land.   This man showed that he did not love the Lord God of Israel with all his heart, soul, and might as commanded by the law. (Deu.6; 4-5; Mark 12:28-30) The evidence of this was that he did not love his neighbor, who in this case was Lazarus (Lev 19:18; Matt. 22:34-40).   Although he thought he could force his way into God’s kingdom, his heart attitude, which was demonstrated by his actions, proved him to be unworthy to enter.


Of course, everyone would prefer to live a life of luxury on earth rather than being a poor beggar.   Another point I would like to make this morning about this parable as we live life on this earth, we only see half of the story.


We see life as it is lived here….we don’t see the afterlife and we don’t see what is currently going on beyond the grave.  This has caused great confusion and frustration over the years.  Psalms 73 is a testimony of a man name Asaph.   He was a Levite and worship leader in the Tabernacle choir under King David. (1 Chronicles 6:31-32, 39). He also was a skilled musician and also mentioned as a “seer” or prophet. (2nd Chronicles 29:30) Asaph admitted to being frustrated by the fact that his faith had led him into a life of hardship while those who are godless seemed to have a life of ease.  If you read verses 1-14 of Psalms 73 you will see his frustrations.   From his vantage point, all he could see was the godless.   And they were wealthy and comfortable and it left him feeling like his decision to follow God was the wrong one.   But he had only half of the story.  All he was able to see was what took place in this life.   Then if you read verses 15-20 of Psalms 73, there God took Asaph into the sanctuary and showed him “their end” (the Godless). (Ps 73:17) Asaph saw the Godless as did the Rich Man that their comfort ends as soon as this life does.  He could’ve been the first to coin that phrase, “All that Glitters isn’t Gold”.


When Asaph got the full story, it completely changed his outlook regarding wealth and what true treasure is.  Asaph went from being an angry envious man to a contented worshiping man because he saw the entire story.  No longer was he envious of the wicked and their wealth, now he was filled with gratitude for the true treasure that he did possess which was God Himself.  Psalms 50 and 73-83 are called the “Psalms of Asaph” because his name appears in the superscription at the head of those psalms.


I read you this story of Asaph because the goal of Luke 16:19-23 is to produce exactly that same response to you.   Jesus gives the story to His disciples because He wants them to know the rest of the story.   And may knowledge of the whole truth here totally change our perspective regarding the value of the worldly wealth as well.   After we finish this life, may we all answer sincerely with Asaph “Whom have I in heaven but thee?  And There is none upon earth that I desire but thee.   My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever” (Psalms 73:25-26).


Death is the common end to which all classes of mankind must come.  In the parable, the trials of the beggar named Lazarus and the sumptuous faring of the rich man alike ceased at last. There came a time when both of them died and went to their respective rewards.  Death is a great fact that all acknowledge, but very few seem to realize.  Most men eat, and drink, and talk, and plan, as if they were going to live upon earth forever.  The true Christian must be on his guard against this spirit.  The beggar died and his bodily wants came to an end.  The rich man died and his feasting was stopped forever.


The parable teaches us that the souls of believers are especially cared for by God in the hour of death.  The Lord Jesus tells us that when Lazarus the beggar died, he “was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom.”  There is something very comforting in this expression.  We know little or nothing of the state and feelings of the dead.  When our own last hour comes and we lie down to die, we shall be like those who journey into an unknown country.  But it may suffice us to know that all who fall asleep as disciples in Jesus are in good keeping.  They are not homeless wanderers between the hour of death and the day of resurrection.  They are at rest in the midst of friends, in the company of all who have had like faith such as Abraham.  They lack nothing.


And best of all, their souls are “with Christ” as St. Paul tells us in Philippians 1:23.  Also, in 2nd Cor. 5:8 St Paul says “Absent from the Body and present with the Lord.” As soon as the soul departs it is immediately with Christ!   Jesus told the penitent thief on the cross “This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise, (Luke 23:43)


We learn from this parable also the reality and eternity of hell.  The Lord Jesus tells us plainly that after death the rich man was in hell, tormented with flame.


He gives us a fearful picture of the man’s longing for even a “drop of water to cool his tongue, “and of the “gulf” between him and Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, a gulf (a wide separation) which could not be passed by either man.   There are only a few more passages in the whole Bible that describes a more awful experience as this one.


The certainty and endlessness of the future punishment of the wicked are truths which we must hold fast and never let go.  From the day when Satan said to Eve, “Ye shall not surely die,” there has never been any lack of men who have denied them.

Let us not be deceived.  There is a hell for the non-believers as well as a heaven for believers.  According to St. Paul, there is a wrath to come for all who “obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thes. 1:8).   Therefore, from that wrath let us flee to the great hiding place, Jesus Christ the Lord, who paid the ultimate price for our sins     If men find themselves in torment at last, it will not be because there was no way to escape.


The parable also shows us that unbelievers don’t realize the value of their soul until after death, but then it is too late.  We read that the rich man prayed that Lazarus might be sent to testify to his five brethren who were yet alive, “lest they also should come to the place of torment.”  While he lived, he probably never did anything for their spiritual good.  They may have even been his companions in worldliness and had neglected their souls entirely.  After his death, he learned too late of the consequences of his sinful life and his neglect of God’s Commandments.  There is no skepticism or unbelief after death.  There is a wise saying that “hell is nothing more than truth known too late.”


Jesus taught us in this parable that the greatest miracles can have no effect of men’s hearts if they will not believe God’s Word.

The rich man thought that “if one went to his brethren from the dead, they would repent.”

He argued that the sight of one who came from another world must surely make them believe; even though they had heard the old familiar words of Moses and the prophets all their lives in vain.   The reply of Abraham is solemn and instructive: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”  The principle laid down in these words is of deep importance.  The Scriptures contain all that we need to know in order to be saved, and a messenger from the world beyond the grave could add nothing to them.


So, in closing, it is not more evidence that is wanted or needed in order to make non-believers repent, but more open hearts and a wiliness to make use of what they already know.  There are a lot of mysteries in the bible but the way to salvation is very clear.   And the good news is that it is free as St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8 & 9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”


In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Amen


Rev Stephen Cooper Church of the Redeemer Fairbanks, Alaska

From time to time we are fortunate to receive a sermon from Rev Cooper in Fairbanks Alaska. The head of our northernmost church, Stephen is a brilliant and inspiring speaker. I wish we had video of him rather than just audio; but I am confident you will enjoy this. This sermon is for last week. Please take the time to listen to it.

Please click on link below to listen:









AOC Worldwide Prayer List

In order to get this report out in a timely manner this week, the prayer list will be more detailed in future reports.


I have received updates from a few and those will be the first added to the list.

Please send all prayer requests and updates to aocworldwide@gmail.com for future reports

I thank you for your patience while putting together this wonderful ministers report made for the common man.

Keep Praying for the following:


Jack and Dru Arnold,
Jim, Dawn and Harper,
Roberto & Bianca
Rachel and Joshua
Madison and Hilda
Josh Morley


By |2024-06-10T14:17:05+00:00June 10th, 2024|AOC Sunday Report|Comments Off on 240602 AOC Sunday Report

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