Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
The Church in Central New York founded and consistently fostered by the GLBTQIS community. October 31, 2018 was the 35th Anniversary in our 36th year in Ministry.
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Sermon for July 24/25, 1999
Pentecost 9A


The following are the Scripture readings as scheduled in the "Revised Common Lectionary," an ecumenical schedule of readings of Holy Scripture. Our sermons are based on these readings.



Genesis 29:15-28
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, (Year A)



15Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?” 16Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance. 18Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.” 19And Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me.” 20So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her. 21Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her.” 22And Laban gathered together all the men of the place and made a feast. 23Now it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her. 24And Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a maid. 25So it came to pass in the morning, that behold, it was Leah. And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?” 26And Laban said, “It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years.” 28Then Jacob did so and fulfilled her week. So he gave him his daughter Rachel as wife also. 29And Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as a maid. 30Then Jacob also went in to Rachel, and he also loved Rachel more than Leah. And he served with Laban still another seven years.

This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

Psalm 105
1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! 2 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! 3 Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! 4 Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore! 5 Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth, 6 O seed of Abraham His servant, You children of Jacob, His chosen ones! 7 He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth. 8 He remembers His covenant forever, The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, 9 The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac, 10 And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, 11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the allotment of your inheritance,” 12 When they were few in number, Indeed very few, and strangers in it. 13 When they went from one nation to another, From one kingdom to another people, 14 He permitted no one to do them wrong; Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, 15 Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.” 16 Moreover He called for a famine in the land; He destroyed all the provision of bread. 17 He sent a man before them— Joseph—who was sold as a slave. 18 They hurt his feet with fetters, He was laid in irons. 19 Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the LORD tested him. 20 The king sent and released him, The ruler of the people let him go free. 21 He made him lord of his house, And ruler of all his possessions, 22 To bind his princes at his pleasure, And teach his elders wisdom. 23 Israel also came into Egypt, And Jacob dwelt in the land of Ham. 24 He increased His people greatly, And made them stronger than their enemies. 25 He turned their heart to hate His people, To deal craftily with His servants. 26 He sent Moses His servant, And Aaron whom He had chosen. 27 They performed His signs among them, And wonders in the land of Ham. 28 He sent darkness, and made it dark; And they did not rebel against His word. 29 He turned their waters into blood, And killed their fish. 30 Their land abounded with frogs, Even in the chambers of their kings. 31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, And lice in all their territory. 32 He gave them hail for rain, And flaming fire in their land. 33 He struck their vines also, and their fig trees, And splintered the trees of their territory. 34 He spoke, and locusts came, Young locusts without number, 35 And ate up all the vegetation in their land, And devoured the fruit of their ground. 36 He also destroyed all the firstborn in their land, The first of all their strength. 37 He also brought them out with silver and gold, And there was none feeble among His tribes. 38 Egypt was glad when they departed, For the fear of them had fallen upon them. 39 He spread a cloud for a covering, And fire to give light in the night. 40 The people asked, and He brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven. 41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out; It ran in the dry places like a river. 42 For He remembered His holy promise, And Abraham His servant. 43 He brought out His people with joy, His chosen ones with gladness. 44 He gave them the lands of the Gentiles, And they inherited the labor of the nations, 45 That they might observe His statutes And keep His laws. Praise the LORD!

(Year A)

Romans 8:26-39
26Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession £for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”£ 37Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

Matthew 13"1-33, 44-52
Pentecost 9 (Year A)



31Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” 33Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three £measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

44“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. 47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” 51£Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, £Lord.” 52Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed £concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

Reader: This is the Gospel of the Lord; Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.




Brother Benedict, Sermon 185

Pentecost 9A, 1999



Genesis 29:15-28
Psalm 105
Romans 8:26-39
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

"We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39) As born again Christians it is important that we not despair over the setbacks in life. It is important that we not be deceived by evil. Evil is always looking for ways and circumstances to make God look like a liar.

The time is now to tell the truth about the struggles we should expect in our lives. Jesus said; "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33b) Jesus warned that tribulation, persecution, hard times would even arise because of our being ambassadors for the Word. (See Matt. 13:21) Paul certainly indicated tribulations were a normal result of revealing the Word to the world when Paul wrote 2 Corinthians 7:4b. The fact is, we have not been promised a peaceful and perfect life in this world at this time. That is not possible with sin growing alongside of salvation every day of the year, every hour of the day, every minute of the hour. Only after sin is permanently removed from this earth will the grace and glory of God prevail. When all evil is conquered forever God will be all in all as God created the universe in the beginning. Paul wrote about this in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28;

24Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says, "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.



Only when the fullness of the Kingdom of God is established will we be able to count on living without sin bringing great difficulties into our lives. However, today's readings give some ideas on how to deal with the reality of tribulations and difficulties brought on by sin in our present lives.

In our first reading this weekend we continue in the development and establishment of the Chosen People, the Jews. Jacob serves the house of Laban for seven years to pay a dowry for the hand of Rachel in marriage. When Jacob had completed the seven years service Laban brought his daughter into the bridegroom's chamber at night. However, when the morning light shone, Jacob was shocked to see he had spent the night with Leah, Rachel's older sister. Here is the presence of sin in the story. Our translations use the word "trick", however we are dealing with a spirit of deception and lies which can only originate in the Father Of Lies, Satan (John 8:44). Jacob confronts Laban about this deception. Laban gave a lame story about only giving the daughters in order of their births. So, Jacob keeps Leah and works another seven years for the hand of Rachel.

Please try to envision fourteen years of time. What were you doing fourteen years ago? How many of us would work fourteen years to earn anything these days? This story reports still yet another attempt by Satan to derail the development of the Chosen family, the Chosen People, the Jewish line of the Messiah. Satan's ultimate goal, of course was to keep Messiah from coming into the world to save the people by the regaining the rights to humanity's eternity and the future of this planet. The more you understand this was, and still is Satan's goal the more you will see the importance of each of the events that are recorded in the Hebrew Testament. Apart from viewing these events in the light of the satanic agenda, they make little or no sense and are quickly attributed to myth.

Although it appeared for a time that Jacob would not be given Rachel, whom God had chosen for him, God still prevailed and Jacob left with not one but two wives, Rachel and Leah. All things work out to good for those who love God and are called by God's name. (cf. Romans 8:28)

Psalm 105 sounds like a victory song, or a victory chant after a great sporting event or a great battle. It is a celebration of the consistent and constant presence of God in our lives. Notice the use of praise; "Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works." (Psalm 105:2) Notice the use of exhortation; "Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually. Of utmost importance is the celebration of the unconditional covenants made with Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob; saying; "To you I will give the land of Cannaan as your portion for an inheritance." This is Israel's eternal covenant.

God has not cancelled this covenant. Although Israel has had to wait almost 1, 878 years to be restored to her promised land. Today, she is back in that land. Israel and her people have endured so much persecution from the agents of evil over the centuries, however nothing can and nothing ever will cancel the promises that God has specifically made to Israel from being completely fulfilled.

This is also the message behind the second reading today. Paul is making it clear that the Church also has been given unconditional promises. Paul frames this truth in the revealing of the foreknowledge of God that God predestined us to be conformed to the very image of Christ, and that we would be part of a very large people for God. Paul is so certain of the result of God's unconditional promises that he declares "..neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38) Paul admits we shall endure hardships, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and the sword (Romans 8:35), but he boldly declares these things shall never have the power to separate us from God's eternal promises made known to us in Jesus Christ.

It is in celebration of God's eternal, unconditional promises that Paul says; "If God is for us, who is against us?" Satan is already defeated by the eternal promises of Christ. Jesus said; "…the ruler of this world is judged." (John 16:11) How foolish and sinful then is the lack of effort toward education into these promises that is the normal course in most churches. Without the knowledge of God's Plan for the Ages, with a full presentation of God's plan for Satan and all cohorts of evil, people are left to wonder and wander and try to discover God's purposes with only the natural world and mind to assist. Certainly, Satan will keep the minds of those who are not born again "blinded" from seeing the truth of where he and his cohorts and associates are clearly headed. Paul explained how Satan keeps the natural mind blind to God's plan;

"But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." (2 Cor. 4:3-4

)

The Good News of this Age of Grace is the coming, that is the future fulfillment of the eternal Kingdom of God. There is nothing that can abscond this gift from us who are in Christ Jesus. We need to concentrate then on how to live as citizens of God's Eternal Kingdom. Even without the fullness of the Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven now, we have been born again and therefore we share the spiritual realities of God's Kingdom now even as we await the physical benefits. Paul reminds us of our real citizenship when he writes;

"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." (Philippians 3:20-21

)

The promise of victory for God and God's people is declared. Jesus has fulfilled all the legal and sacrificial requirements to take back the rule of this planet from Satan. When God has decided that every soul who will come to salvation has done so, God will send Jesus and the Angels and Saints to resurrect those whose bodies are awaiting the glorious resurrection of God's People and the remaking of God's planet. Paul wrote;

"For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body." (Romans 8:19-24)



As each person hears this good news of the full Gospel of God, the restoration of God's Kingdom, each one has to practically start over and build a whole new world - view. We have lived our lives with a full education into the values of a cosmology under the rule of Satan therefore; we are full of that deception.

Many of "society's" values and goals are in fact motivated by the moral, ethical, or economic standards of the god of this world, Satan. (2 Cor. 4:3-4) The New Scofield Reference Bible has a note at Revelation 20:10 that includes this statement:

"The present world system (Rev. 13:8), organized upon the principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and sinful pleasure, is his [Satan's] work, and was the bribe which he [Satan] offered to Christ (Mt. 4:8-9). Of that world system he [Satan] is the ruler (Jn. 14:30; 16:11), and god (2 Cor. 4:4). As 'prince of the power of the air' (Eph.2:2) he [Satan] is at the head of a vast host of demons (Mt. 7:22). To him [Satan], under God, was committed upon the earth the power of death (Heb. 2:14). Cast out of heaven as his [Satan's] proper sphere and 'position of authority,' he [Satan] still has access to God as the 'accuser of our brethren' (Rev. 12:10) and is permitted a certain power of sifting or testing the self-confident and carnal among believers (Job 1:6-11; Lk. 22:31-32; 1 Cor. 5:5; 1 Tim. 1:20); but this is a strictly permissive and limited power, and believers so sifted are kept in faith through the advocacy of Christ (Lk. 22:31-32; 1 Jn. 2:1)."



The Gospel reading we have for today gives the believer concrete hope that one's life can in fact be rebuilt after tearing out all the familiar worldly standards and marking posts. The Gospel says;

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches." (Matt. 13:31-33)

In Matt. 17:20 says; "I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."



So, let us not be discouraged when starting over in the Christian life means we have to discard so many familiar ways of thinking and behaving. We need a new attitude! We need a new way of viewing everything in the world. Though it may seem for a short time that we have very little remaining that is familiar, we begin by planting the seed of Faith in Jesus Christ.

Like the mustard seed, our new life will grow rapidly in Christ. Christ came to give us life and more importantly, He came to give us abundant life. (John 10:10) The Lord of the Universe certainly knows how to fulfill all of our needs and once we are totally give our trust to Him and place our futures into His hands. Some people think placing their futures into God's hands is unfair and an intrusion into one's personal life. Perhaps it is, but God is still God. God sets the Universe and all its inhabitants in order. We need, therefore to celebrate and live out the truth that God is in charge.

"We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

May almighty God bless you, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

TOTUS TUUS! Totally Yours, Lord Jesus Christ.


May Almighty God bless all of us, in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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