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 September 4/5, 1999
Pentecost 15A
Presented by Zara Alba


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.





Fifteenth Sunday of Pentecost, (Year A)



Exodus 12:1-4
1The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. 4If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. 5Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. 7They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD. 12For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. 13The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

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

Psalm 149

1 Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
2 Let Israel be glad in its Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
3 Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.
4 For the LORD takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with victory.
5 Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their couches.
6 Let the high praises of God be in their throats
and two-edged swords in their hands,
7 to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with fetters
and their nobles with chains of iron,
9 to execute on them the judgment decreed.
This is glory for all his faithful ones.
Praise the LORD!

(Year A)

Romans 13:8-14
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
An Urgent Appeal
11Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

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

Matthew 18:15-20
Pentecost 15 (Year A)



Reproving Another Who Sins

15“If another member of the church£ sins against you,£ go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.
If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.
16But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
17If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church;
and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
18Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
20For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

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






Pentecost 15A, 1999

Sermon by Zara Alba



On the very first Passover, the night before Moses would lead God's people out of Egypt, each household was instructed to sacrifice a lamb, one without blemish. They were to put the blood from this lamb upon the doorposts of the houses were they stayed, for God told Moses " I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and will strike down all the firstborn, in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the Lord." ( Ex.12:12 ) All of Egypt's gods were completely powerless to save them. And the ONLY thing that would save the Israelites this night was the blood of an unblemished lamb. For God told them, " now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt." (Ex.12:13).

So every year thereafter on the anniversary of the Passover, the Israelites would sacrifice a lamb for forgiveness of their sins. This was the law for the Hebrew dispensation regarding the forgiveness of sins. However, when Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples on the evening before His death, He took the cup of wine, " And He said to them, this is My blood of the NEW covenant, which is shed for many." ( Mark 14:24. ) Jesus was now to be the Lamb of God without blemish, the Lamb who's blood would now save God's people. Just as the blood on the doorposts was the only thing that would save them long ago, the blood of Jesus Christ is the only thing that will save us now!!! 1st Corinthians, chapter 5 verse 7 says…. " Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us." And 1st Peter chapter 1 verses 18 and 19, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."

On that first Passover night in Egypt, it was their obedience to God, when God instructed the sacrificial blood be applied to the doorposts, that gave salvation to ALL that were in the household…… men, women, children, animals,….. ALL that were "under the blood"! God saved them ALL. They trusted God's promise! The Israelite that was true to their faith did not say, "I hope I will be saved or I wonder if I will be saved , NO….. they knew they would be saved, God promised to save them if they were obedient to God.

We, like the Israelites do not have to wonder about our salvation, we needn't ask ourselves, am I righteous enough?, Have I done everything right? For if our salvation depended on our works, it would mean Jesus died for nothing!! We know we are not saved by the things that we have or haven't done, or by the color of our skin…our gender…or sexual orientation, We are saved by the cleansing Blood of Jesus Christ!! So don't say … I hope the blood will save me, or I wonder if it will!! Say I KNOW I AM SAVED THROUGH THE SHED BLOOD OF MY LORD JESUS CHRIST!!! He did not die for nothing, He died so we may live! Eph.1:7 says, " In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace…." When we ask God for forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ and believe in the redeeming power of His blood, we can be assured that we are forgiven. For the church, the requirements of the law are summed up, according to St. Paul in the second reading; " Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law." ( Romans 13:9-10 ) It isn't that good works have no place in the life of the Christian, however, good works are the fruit of being born again. We have the added responsibility to " lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light." ( Romans 13:12 )
Being Christian, does involve responsibilities and required standards of behavior. However, the works that we do, will earn rewards, not salvation.

In 1st Corinthians chapter 3 verses 11 through 15, Paul tells the church at Corinth… "For no other foundation can anyone lay other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each ones work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each ones work, of what sort it is, If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." Since salvation was so costly to Christ, having personally paid with his own flesh and blood, we must remember we are not self-sufficient. Rather, we are dependent on Christ to sustain us. In fact … in 1st Corinthians chapter 6 verses 19 and 20 , Paul says.. "or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN? For you were bought at a PRICE, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's"
We are not our own, we were bought at a price. Let's think about that price………….Jesus willingly gave Himself as a sacrifice, to be beaten, kicked, spit on, whipped with a leather whip with bits of metal on the ends. He was tortured and humiliated for hours. The soldiers put a crown of thorns on His head, they removed His cloths and put a purple robe on Him, and a reed in His hand and mockingly hailed him king, See Him standing there, so bloody and beaten……Then they blindfolded Him and beat Him some more, laughing and telling Him to prophesy who was hitting Him. Then in all His pain and torment, He was made to carry the crossbeam, that He would be nailed to, which probably weighed about 100 pounds, to the place where they would crucify Him. He had suffered so much already that He kept falling and the soldiers commanded a man named Simon to carry it the rest of the way. When they finally got to Golgatha , the soldiers laid Jesus on the crossbeam and took spikes like these and nailed His hands to the wood! Just try and imagine what that must have been like! The intense pain… the warm blood spurting out, hitting you in your face. How horrible!! Then they hoisted the crossbeam up and fastened it to the beam upright in the ground, and nailed His feet to it. More blood pouring out….
Crucifixion was probably the most cruel and painful methods of death that the Romans knew, and was reserved for the worst criminals. ( The Bible Knowledge commentary by Walvoord and Zuck; pg.262 ) And what does Jesus say?? Does He curse these people who are killing Him? Does He condemn them? NO! He says " Forgive them Father for they know not what They do." And He forgives the criminal next to Him who asks Jesus to remember him. What an example of Love and forgiveness! As the sacrificial blood is falling to the ground, Jesus is applying it first to His killers and then to a repentant criminal!! I don't think many of us could even imagine the kind of pain and suffering Jesus endured to pay the price of our salvation. But yet so many people,…….. people who claim to belong to Him(!) still have no idea of what He did for them.!! That is very sad, they don't even seem to care. Jesus instructs us to love one another, and if we love others then we must tell them what Jesus has done for them.
In our second reading today, Paul writes to the saints in Rome; "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is a fulfilling of the law." In Christ the NEW law is to love and forgive. And the only way to forgive and to ask God for forgiveness, is through the precious blood that Jesus shed for us!!
Jesus gives the church this law of forgiveness described in our Gospel reading today. And as a matter of fact, these gospel verses have been a standing policy of Ray of Hope Church since 2/11/96. In Matt.18:15-20, Jesus says; " If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you , you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen to the church, let such a one be to you as a gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you , whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name , I am there among them."
We have a wonderful gift, the power to forgive sins in the Name of Jesus, with His own sacred presence, ministering forgiveness. And if we forgive our brother or sister on earth they are forgiven in heaven! And if they forgive us, we are forgiven in heaven. And only through the applied blood of Christ, are we able to use this powerful gift of forgiveness!! So let us praise and glorify God, and take on the saving blood of Christ that cleanses us from all unrighteousness, and join Christ's mission to bring many into the household of God. Zara Alba

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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