THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER, FRANKLIN, MA Romans 8:12-17 The Holy Trinity and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church June 3, 2012 The

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1 THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER, FRANKLIN, MA Romans 8:12-17 The Holy Trinity and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church June 3, 2012 The Morris Antique Mall is located in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Nothing on the inside of the store distinguishes this antique shop from dozens like it in Hot Springs and across the country. There s a musty smell and dusty relics from the past. But if you look closely at the outside of the Morris Antique Mall, you ll see something that makes it distinctive: before it was an antique store, it was a church building. And as you travel around New England you ll find other similar buildings buildings that were once were vital churches but now are used for another purpose. It s vitally important that the church here at Redeemer and in all the other parts of the church around the world focus on our mission to proclaim the Gospel. If we don t do that we risk the likelihood of become a resting place for dusty relics of the past. Warren Wiersbe wrote: What every church should be is what every Christian should be: elect (born again) enthusiastic (sharing the gospel with others), and expectant (daily looking for Jesus Christ to return). This morning I d like to think with you about both the Holy Trinity and what it means to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Today, the first Sunday after Pentecost, is Trinity Sunday on the church calendar. It s a feast day of the Church, dating back to the Middle Ages, set aside to honor the Holy Trinity God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We affirm our belief in the Triune God every Sunday as we join together to say The Nicene Creed. Think about the words we prayed in the collect: Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your

2 2 divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. This is the second sermon in a series about spiritual maturity, about the church, about discipleship within the church and the family and about the money and other resources God entrusts to His people. Last week Christine Keddy focused on personal spiritual maturity and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. She spoke about a Spirit-led life that involves a journey inward, a life that looks worshipfully upward and a life that is lived joyfully outward. Although her focus was on personal spiritual growth and maturity, Christine was clear that the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that are given to every believer, are not for their personal use but for the benefit of the people of God, the Body of Christ, for the Church. The Acts of the Apostles offers this description of what the early church looked like: they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. [2:42-47 ESV] In the reading from The Letter to the Romans this morning we learn that all believers who are led by the Spirit of God are sons [and daughters] of God. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. [8:14, ESV] And

3 3 in John s Gospel the Father s action and our status is affirmed: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. [3:16 ESV] So what does it means to be the Church? The Preamble to the Constitution of the Anglican Church in North America states: We are Anglicans in North America united by our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the trustworthiness of the Holy Scriptures. We know ourselves to be members of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church [who seek to be] faithful and consistent with the Historic Faith and Order of the Church [and] to be obedient disciples of Jesus Christ our One Lord and Savior. Our Constitution says that we receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1571 as expressing the fundamental principles of what it means to be a Christian within the Anglican tradition. The first Article sets the stage for all the Articles that follow. It s titled Of Faith in the Holy Trinity. There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We don t have time this morning to unpack this article, but in summary it is about God the center of the Christian faith. It s about the reality, nature and character of God as He has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, the Living Word, and in the Holy Scriptures, the written Word. Since God is the living center of all reality and since He alone deserves and desires our utmost trust and allegiance, the Thirty-Nine Articles begin with Him. Bishop John Rodgers comments: Anglicans, in this Article, show that they stand firmly in the great classical tradition of the Church Catholic. None of what has been said is beside the point or could be ignored. We all do well to ponder deeply the biblical Self-disclosure of the living, triune God, and to respond to Him

4 4 personally, in repentance and faith, with thanksgiving, praise, and adoration. And we all need to view all things in relation to Him and in His light. i John writes in his Gospel, And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. [3:14-15 ESV] Paul told the Romans that all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons [and daughters] of God and the Spirit enables us to cry Abba! Father! As we think about our faith and the Church it s important to understand that all three Persons of the Holy Trinity are involved in our salvation. We ve been chosen by God the Father, purchased by God the Son and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Christians are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ and are called into His Church to devote themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. As I mentioned earlier as individual believers we are called to grow in spiritual maturity and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. A Spirit-led life involves a journey inward, a life that looks worshipfully upward and a life that is lived joyfully outward. At the same time it s essential that we come together with other believers, on a regular basis, for worship, prayer, learning and to experience the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist the breaking of bread. As I mentioned, Article I sets the stage: There is but one living and true God, everlasting the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Article VI deals with the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for salvation and it s the basis of the affirmation that s required of all Anglican clergy at the time of their ordination. I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God and to contain all things necessary to salvation, and I consequently hold myself bound to conform my life and ministry thereto.

5 5 After several articles dealing with a wide variety of theological issues, Article XIX describes the nature of the Church of Jesus Christ. The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men [and I would insert women], in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ s ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same. As Anglicans we believe that we part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The true Church is ONE because we worship one God; we have one Savior and Lord, one faith, one baptism and one Holy Spirit. The Church s unity lies in being united to her one Head, Jesus Christ. The true Church is HOLY because she is set apart by her relationship with the Lord whom we worship and she manifests the work of the one Holy Spirit in her midst. The Apostle Peter wrote: you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. [1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV] The true Church is CATHOLIC or universal; all are invited who repent and believe in Jesus Christ and in the faith that is taught and has its origin in the early church. Vincent, a French monk in the fifth-century, expressed it like this: Hold fast that faith which has been believed everywhere, always and by all. In the Letter of Jude it says: Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you

6 6 to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. [Jude 3 ESV] And finally, the true Church is APOSTOLIC; an apostle is one who is sent the Church is sent by the Risen Lord to be His hands and feet in the world. Bishop Rodgers comments: Global mission lies at the heart of the Church. It is sent to do works of mercy and, above all, to share the Gospel with and make disciples of all people. The Lord of the Church is on mission, therefore His Church is on mission or it is unfaithful. In addition, the Faith of the Church is in accord with the teaching of the Apostles. A body or community that does not hold to the teaching of the Apostles and is not on Apostolic mission is neither Apostolic nor the Church. ii In the Church we are called into unity with Christ and one another; we are called to regular worship and fellowship Sunday morning, small groups, Bible study so that we can disciple each other, grow up in Christ, lead our children into a personal relationship with Him and join together with other Christians in the mission of Christ in the world. The Anglican Church in North America expresses it like this: Reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. So then, brothers [and sisters], we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons [and daughters] of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [and daughters], by whom we cry, Abba! Father! The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

7 7 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. The Triune God Father, Son and Holy Spirit calls us individually, as He did Moses, but He also calls us into community into His Church, the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ in the world. If we don t want to become a place with a musty smell, full of dusty relics from the past, we must remember that we are a people on mission for God. What every church should be is what every Christian should be: elect (born again) enthusiastic (sharing the gospel with others), and expectant (daily looking for Jesus Christ to return). Jesus knows that we won t always get it right, but He assures us: I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. [Matthew 16:18 ESV] ************* Almighty God, I pray that you will keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Father Jack Potter+ i John H. Rodgers, Jr., Essential Truths for Christians, A Commentary on the Anglican Thirty- Nine Articles and an Introduction to Systematic Theology, Classical Anglican Press, Blue Bell, PA, 2011, p. 61 ii Ibid, p. 370

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