The Third Sunday in Lent
WE beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Deut vi., Psalm 25, Ephesians v. 1. St. Luke xi. 14.
Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
Lent 3 Home
HEAR O ISREAL: In today's Old Testament lesson from Deuteronomy we again hear the first sentence of the Shema, the Creed of our Lord which was said morning and evening. "Hear Isreal, J@HOVAH is God, J@HOVAH is One. You shall love J@HOVAH your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength" It is also the first part of the Summary of the Law that Jesus taught. We in the Order of Centurions have adopted this as a part of our Rule and Vow . God tells us that we must keep his statues in our hearts. We are to teach them to our children, and live by them day-by-day. We are to talk of them in every occupation of life. They are to be to us the most important precept and guide for us. Following this, God tells us Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God and do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD. These two clauses are contained within the Order's motto: Fear God and do what is Right
Our passage is was a covenant between the people Isreal and God. God said that if they followed his commandments, did what was right, and feared him, that it would be counted as righteousness, and would result in certain benefits: the promised land, prosperity, safety from enemies, wellbeing. That is the blessing. But there is also the promise of curses should Isreal forget their God and fail to follow his commandments. God admonished Israel that if they chased after foreign gods, forgot or ignored his law and justice, or failed the keep faith with him he would destroy them.
So what does this have to do with the saints that are in Christ? Everything. This passage is part of the foundational Scripture that is the basis for our life in Christ. We worship the Father through the Son - and him only in Trinity. God is still One. He is still J@HOVAH. He is still jealous. He still demands justice and mercy. He still admonishes us that we are to love him only with all of our heart, soul, mind, and stength.
What about the covenant of community blessings and curses? In my country there has been a belief held by most Christians since the beginning, and it has emphasized by our greatest leaders. We recently celebrated two such presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. President Washington saw the birth of our nation as a blessing of God almighty.... President Lincoln saw the great loss of over 600,000 men in our great Civil War as punishment for national sins - only God Almighty knows for sure.
Earlier this week our cohort met in study and it was noted that there are some who profess Christianity who do not consider the Old Testament books to be authoritative. We in the Order hold all canonical Scripture to be authoritative - God breathed, and useful for instruction, doctrine, and reproof. Be assured, Jesus Christ took the Scriptures to be authoritative and said that that he was the fulfillment of the Scriptures. He is the Logos, the Word of God, and these are his words. Jesus said in today's Gospel, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it, and he said it when the Word of God was the Old Testament Scripture and his voice. Amen
The Reverend Mark Carroll - 2005
Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers. To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken. And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you? Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.
The Epistle. Ephesians v. 1.
BE ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make man-ifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
The Gospel. St. Luke xi. 14.
JESUS was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.