Anglican Morning Devotion for 8 January 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-6; all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
This Epistle text could have been written specifically for our time, but it was not – it was written for every age of the Church following the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every age of the Church has been burdened by scoundrels and hypocrites in the pulpit. Not only are Godly men drawn by an unrelenting spiritual force to mount the pulpit and preach the power and beauty of God, but Satan’s minions, likewise, are sent by the Prince of the Air and of darkness as ‘Angels of Light’ to deceive and lead astray the people of God. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
The false gospel of Satan is delivered in deceit and darkness, therefore, we who preach the pure Word of God, and its redeeming power, must do so in the brilliant light of His love and Truth. Even a small candle will disperse a room full of darkness. But why would any light a candle and place it under a bushel?
The preacher commits the sin of the hidden Gospel by preaching all around the heart of the Gospel but never quite getting to the fulness thereof. To some pulpit wonders, sin is only a mental disorder that we must accept and understand – not something bad in the heart of the sinner, but something beyond his power from which to abstain. To others, the gospel is preached as lessons learned from the golf course or some football game. The Gospel is like a pearl enshrined in the hardened shell of the clam. It may seem hard to grasp, but a beautiful treasure awaits its inner core. To preach the truth of the sinful nature of all men may be hard sayings to the sinner, but it is the only means by which he may know his own nature and be brought to the throne of grace.
It takes courage to preach the truth, but lies come both naturally and without effort. We need faithful men to come to the pulpit and preach, not only the love of God, but the POWER as well as the judgment. We need men who wield the sword of truth with valor: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” (2 Timothy 2:2-5)
There is one circumstance in which the hiding of the Gospel could be a wonderful thing: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalms 119:11) The Word of the Lord is more precious than rubies. If we are to benefit from them, they must be hidden in the secret chambers of our hearts. It is the power of His Word that enables is to love one another and to obey His Commandments. But the heart cannot contain that treasure without its overflowing fountain giving life to all around.
Perhaps we truly are in the very last groanings of this old world. I can see no evidence to contradict that possibility. But I, nor you, neither know the hour or day of His coming. For each of us individually, the Lord may come today – out on the highway of life, or through some sudden affliction. Rather than speculate on the hour of His coming, why not maintain our souls in a constant state of preparedness?
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:1-7)