The sermon on Sunday was nothing to do with any of these texts. It was around where we should make a stand: and though there are many places where as a consequence of this stand we must speak, the stand is fundamental. That we proclaim the gospel, and do not add to it. We do not add to the completed work of Christ. Our salvation is a gift, a grace, an act of mercy at the cost of Christ”s life, given for us.
You cannot pay that back. We can do as Christ commanded, and serve each other, and not prejudge others, so to be unloving. After the service, I talked with a brother. I said that tomorrow, that is today, I am being retired, and I’ve worked continuously for three decades. On a salary. I had too much confidence on this. He said that when he moved to our city, he had no secure work for 10 years, and God provided. I confessed I was scared. That I had put too much of my self worth and confidence into my status.
It is being stripped away from me. God is merciful. My profession is rapidly losing any status it had, and I see friends compromise themselves in the hope they can be seen as good members of society.
For our society is much more concerned about earning your way to status, and being seen as a good thinker, a member of the team of five million, than the life eternal.
So when the preacher, correctly, said that we were to follow the laws of God, and not please men, I realised that all to often I had been doing this.
Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. 3 Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren. 4 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”6 The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. 7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”12 All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
13 After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. 15 With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,
16 ‘After these things I will return,
And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen,
And I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will restore it,
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’
18 Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago. 19 Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 21 For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”NASB
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. 4 He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” 5 Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the Lord was standing by. 6 And the angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here.
8 Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you—indeed they are men who are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch. 9 For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 In that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.’ ”NASB
45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, 51 and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.NASB
Back to the preacher and the circumstances. The preacher is in theological school: his church, Grace Presbyterian NZ, has recommended he go to the NSW Presbyterian Theological Seminary because when the liberal branch left the Presbyterians for the Uniting Church of Australia they gave the reformed their church back. The opposite happened in NZ, which is why the dissident Presbyterians combined into Grace.
I said to him that we were sitting as a family of spiritual refugees. My mother in law is Anglican, High church. But her church won’t have her without two jabs. I said I wanted a church that did not care about vaccination status or the other worldly concerns, but would let us worship. That our bapticostal church had done the same thing, and ma in law needs structure and liturgy.
At the same time Kea was talking to the mother of the person who sold us our house, who cannot attend her Christian Science church.
The goodwill here was in Christ, and a firm knowledge that our enemies hate us. Yes, we are called to love our neighbour, and not judge. But we should not delude ourselves. The world damns us if we are not mudblood: vaxx passed, and it hates us if we don’t cover our sins with the current approved messages from the rancid rainbow of wokeness.
It is possible for me to having goodwill towards men without supposing that every other man feels goodwill towards me. Indeed it is a terrible and tragic error to believe that benevolence disarms malevolence, and that loving my enemies transforms those enemies into my friends. This is why Jesus might well have qualified his command by saying that we should love our enemies, but only from a safe distance.
You may not hate your enemies, but it is safe to suppose that your enemies still hate you.
And this is one more reason it is hard for us to like our enemies, or to enjoy spending time with them. It is tiresome to hear ourselves denounced, openly or by innuendo, and Christian love is hard to sustain while keeping a sharp eye to see that no one puts arsenic in our soup.
We must all from time to time pretend that we like people we do not like, but we should, whenever possible, eschew this falsehood by eschewing promiscuous occasions where this falsehood is required. This is because we will become habitual liars if we do not avoid situations where good manners (or prudence) require us to lie. Politicians and actors are morally disreputable because they spend their entire lives in just such situations. Calumny is a sin, but I cannot see that it is a greater sin than hypocritical expressions of counterfeit liking and spurious brotherhood.
Loving our enemies does not require us to pretend they are our friends.J. M. Smith
The servants in much of our churches and all our institutions are corrupt. Their Kompromat is making them ensure all others are broken and compromised. They are already gnashing their teeth as the parrot the current virtue signals.
The other issue we face is that we hold hard to our traditions of faith. I’d rather have a beer with a Sedevancantist or Brother Mundabor — we all know that we are not saved by our doing but by Christ. I’d do the same thing with some of the Mormonish people. It is allegiance to Christ that matters. The woke are weaponizing the traditions.
Let us cling to the only trustworthy foundation. That Jesus is the Messiah, who died for us, and rose for our hope. This elite and their churchly minions? Do not be them. Do not be like them.