2nd Sunday in Easter
Is the Lord still speaking to His Church? Yes I believe He is, but not in the way that the modernist church would have you believe.
Peace be with you, or “Shalome.” This was a common greeting in the time of Christ and His first followers. However, the intent of today’s greeting held a much more prescient meaning — “be not afraid.”
You see, since Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, and Death, His followers were deathly afraid that they too would suffer the same fate. This is evidenced in todays gospel reading, where we find Christ’s followers hiding in fear. This was even after a few of them had already witnessed the empty tomb, and even talked to him.
This scene in the gospel kind of reminds me of many churches over the past year — cowering in fear, listening to worldly wisdom, rather than of the grace of God. Whether or not their attitude is justified, it is apparent that fear dominates them. That puts them in the same group with so many other people. Those dominated by fear include many of the people we see around us every day and even some of us here this morning. This broaches the question, what is fueling your fears during this present age? What’s in it for us? The promise of our own resurrection at the end of time, and the reality of reconciliation with God and other people here and now. Like the first disciples, we experience Jesus risen from the dead, freeing us from fear of the death that will come at life’s end, and freeing us from all the other deathly fears that blight our lives today.
What are some of the fears we experience? Some are announced in the headlines: illnesses for which no cure is known, a faltering economy, wars and rumors of wars. Other fears are more personal, more private: a bad medical report, a broken marriage, a career that crashes.
These were the folks who were Jesus’ core disciples, many of whom had followed Him for at least three years. They sat under his teachings, they were witness to innumerable miraculous healings that provided incontrovertible evidence that Jesus was whom He claimed to be — yet, despite that in-depth experience, it wasn’t enough fo assuage their fears.
My sisters and brothers, we today have an advantage over those disciples we’re reading about this morning. Even though they had first-hand experience and knowledge, they didn’t have the benefit of the Holy Spirit residing with them, assisting and strengthening their faith. That was still to come — some time after Jesus’s ascension to heaven. As well see in a few weeks at the Feast of Pentecost.
Actually the skewed modern interpretation of today’s first reading, claiming that scripture endorses communism, sort of makes sense. Especially when you consider that those endorsing communism and other Marxist ideologies reject the notion that scripture is truly the “inspired Word of God.” The Holy Spirit is not within them. Contradicting communism’s ungodly notions, the Bible tells us in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, that “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”
Why is it that so many, claiming to be Christian, also endorse various Marxist ideologies? The simple reason is that, similar to Adam and Eve, far too many are falling for the lies of the evil one. Think about it for just a second or two. In virtually every place one of these demonic ideologies has been implemented, it has resulted in persecution of religious people.
Don’t you find it to be the ultimate in cognitive dissonance, for believers in Christ to embrace political agendas that have proven to be deadly to people of faith? I find this to be the ultimate in deception. In many ways this is on par with the very first sin — believing the serpent’s lie.
How do you view all the things going on in our world today! Do you trust that your government is acting in your best interests? Are you trusting the mainstream media for your insights on current events? Did you mask up and quarantine like an obedient servant for most of the past year? How many Americans remember that we elect politicians to serve us, not to be our masters.
Fear is a tool of the evil one. Fear is being used by governments around the world to manipulate their citizens into compliant submission. While they claim to be relying on “science,” a critical review shows that relatively little is scientific about their draconian, and totalitarian controls. When social unrest and riots by anarchists are given a wink and a nod, but attending Church, or singing in worship is forbidden or highly restricted, Houston, we have a problem.
My friends, this type of mindset isn’t limited to government overreach. With their satanic inspired, worldly wisdom, those endorsing modernist theology are quite adept at twisting scripture to endorse their ungodly deception. In fact, they’ve become so artful in their evil propagandizing that they make their sinful vision sound inviting and even righteous. Simply ask yourself, why did Pope Francis feel compelled to apologize to the pagans after a group of offended Catholics threw a stack of Pachamama Idols desecrating Rome’s holy places, into the Tiber? Rather than apologizing to the world, he should have begged forgiveness from the faithful; he should have prostrated himself before the Lord, repented of his evil actions, and begged for forgiveness from our Almighty and Most High God.
My sisters and brothers, it is essential that we seek God in both Spirit and truth. We must become wise as serpents, discerning fact from fiction and TRUTH from deception.
Modernist preachers will tell you that “God is still speaking to us.” While I agree to a point, however, he will never contradict his moral imperatives! Christian morality isn’t relative as today’s universities teach. The moral truths outlined in scripture and codified in Church tradition are absolutes.
If you sitting under the teachings of a bishop, priest, or pastor that is teaching a new-age, PC gospel message that is endorsing a new morality, or socialist agenda, you need to flee that evil. There is absolutely no salvation or saving grace to be found their words, or sacraments. God’s Holy Spirit does not reside in the words or sacramental acts of heretics.
My friends, it is imperative that we seek first the kingdom of God rather than the worldly wisdom that is tickling your ears.
As the Apostle John says in our gospel reading; “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” The words of scripture are just as true today as when they were first penned. The Church of the first millennia, the folks who were closest to the time of Christ preserved those words for us, and went through the hermeneutical task of defining just how we should apply those teachings to your lives.
The unified teachings of the Church Fathers and 1st seven councils of the undivided Church provide us with a baseline, or foundation for our faith-based understanding. Remember, “...the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Furthermore, we MUST become WISE by God’s standards, we are to avoid worldly wisdom; “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise.” (1 Corinthians 3:18)
Anyone who tells you that the words of Christ aren’t for us today is a false teacher, and anti-Christ. You will know the good and righteous preacher by both his words and actions. “For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments.” Is your church remaining faithful?
Yes, the Lord is still speaking to His Church. His message is the same yesterday, today, and forever — Love the Lord your God with all your being, love your neighbor as yourself, trust in Jesus for your salvation, and continue doing the will of the Father. Any other revisionist moral message is from the pit of hell.
FIRST READING — Acts 4:32–35
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.
SECOND READING — 1 John 5:1–6
Beloved: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him. In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth.
GOSPEL — John 20:19–31
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
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