The Arena
The Arena

Episode 584 · 3 months ago

Abraham Our Father


The Arena Podcast is the flagship of Patristic Nectar Publications and contains the Sunday Sermons and other theological reflections by Father Josiah Trenham delivered from the ambon of St. Andrew Church in Riverside, California and begun in 2010. Currently there are more than 550 sermons and lectures covering ten years worth of preaching through the liturgical calendar.

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Sirach: Fashioning a Life of Wisdom | 5 Lectures

Patristic Nectar Publications is pleased to present a new five-lecture series by Father Josiah Trenham entitled Sirach: Fashioning a Life of Wisdom. The Wisdom of Sirach or Ecclesiasticus, as the book is known in the Western or Latin tradition, is a choice composition from the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament.  Written in the 2nd century BC in Hebrew and translated into Greek by the author's grandson in Alexandria, Egypt, this majestic portion of Holy Scripture combines the rich aphorisms of traditional Hebrew sapiential literature with the concerns and background of 2nd-century Hellenic culture. Jesus, the Son of Sirach, was highly prized by the Church Fathers from the earliest days of the Church. In these five lectures, Father Josiah hones in on the themes of learning and seeking wisdom, humility, work, wealth, almsgiving, friendship, social life, wives, women, medicine and physicians, youth and aging, and wise speech and the power of words. In these topical lectures, practical substance is given to the practice of the fear of God in a wide array of human activity so that the servant of God pleases the Lord and lives thoroughly and thoughtfully before Him.

Lecture #1 - Learning and Humility.

Lecture #2 - Work and Wealth in Sirach

Lecture #3 - Almsgiving, Friendship, and Social Relations

Lecture #4 - Wives, Women, and the Stages of Life

Lecture #5 - Wise Words

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Now available at Patristic Nectar dot org. Patristic Nectar Publications is pleased to present a five part lecture series by Father Josiah Trenam entitled Syrac Fashioning a Life of Wisdom. The Wisdom of Syrac, or Ecclesiasticus, as the book is known in the Western or Latin tradition, is a choice composition from the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, written in the second century b c. In Hebrew and translated into Greek by the author's grandson in Alexandria, Egypt. This majestic portion of Holy Scripture combines the rich aphorisms of traditional Hebrew sapiential literature with the concerns and background of second century Hellenic culture. Jesus, the Son of Syrac was highly prized by the church fathers from the earliest days of the church. In these five lectures, Father Josiah hones in on the themes of learning and seeking, wisdom, humility, work, wealth, almsgiving, friendship, social life, wives, women, medicine and physicians, youth and aging, and wise speech and the power of words. In these topical lectures, practical substance is given to the practice of the fear of God in a wide array of human activity, so that the servant of God may please the Lord and live thoroughly and thoughtfully before him. For these and other available lectures, please visit our website at Patristic Nectar dot org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trenham the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. A blessed Lord's Day to your brothers and sisters. Fatherlessness is the great plague of our time, the great source of a huge percentage of our miseries in our land. Fatherlessness is a terrible sorrow, and you hear about it both in the epistle LESCN and in the Gospel Lesson. The Gospel, of course, is the death of a woman's only son who had no husband, and he had no father. We don't know the circumstances of his death, but if you take the number, the percentage of deaths of young men in our country, the vast majority of them have no dads. They were raised with no dads, especially when you address the issue of violent deaths. The epistle Lesson you just heard tells us the beautiful solution that God has provided if we come out from the darkness of spiritual fatherlessness. God will be our father other and we will be his children. Today happens to be the feast they the ninth of October, of the Holy and Righteous Patriarch Abraham, our father, our father, and the faith. This language about Abraham being our father is our language. Our culture has made up some religious language that is really awful. One of the things that our culture has made up is this idea that there are Abrahamic faiths, that there are three great Abrahamic faiths. This language permeates our politics. It is used in our international relations with Middle Eastern countries, Muslim lands, with Israel, with the Jews. It's used by ecumenically minded religious leaders. There is no such thing. There is no...

...such thing as three Abrahamic faiths. There is one faith, and that is the faith of Abraham, which is the Christian faith. Muslims want to us to believe that Abraham is their father. Jews want us to believe that Abraham is their father. And to quote our Lord Jesus, he said to the Jews, when they were offended that he was suggesting that they weren't imitating, of imitating Abraham, Jesus said to them, if Abraham was your father. You would do the deeds of Abraham. And the chief deed deed of Abraham was to believe in Christ himself, whom they rejected and were persecuting. He said, you are, in fact sons of Satan, not children of Abraham. There is no such thing as three Abrahamic faiths. The one true God of Abraham has his only beloved Son's only the Gods and Son, and his Spirit denied both by Jews and by Muslims. The Muslim God is very lonely. He has no one to love, which is why if you look at the ninety names of Allah, you'll never find the chief description of God, the true God love. He has no one to love. We also have that strange language is very similar the that's used sometimes by our politicians and by our religious leaders that America follows a Judeo Christian ethic. There is no Judeo Christian ethic. There is a Jewish ethic. We call it the Old Testament. We revere it, we revere it. It was from God preparatory for a people who were not yet living in the fullness of times, when Christ would come. But when Jesus came him, when he bowed the heavens and came down and joined himself to man, and conquered all of our enemies, and saved us from the devil and from death and from our sins. When he glorified human nature on the top through his union with it, and then took it to the top of mountain the bar to show us what our future is. He gave us the Christian way, his life, his way, which is far higher than the Judeo way. As a matter of fact, Jesus said to his disciples, unless you surpass the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Abraham is our father. He is our father, and I want you to to just think a little bit on his feast date today. I want you to think with me a little bit about the significance of the patriarch Abraham in your life and for of us. First, I want you to see that we know Abraham because of God's interaction in his life. I want you to think about Abraham and God. Abraham was a pagan living in Ur of the Chaldeans. He was a polytheist, like the entire globe, was worshiping this God, and that made up God, and this made up Goddess. This was how Abraham lived. Abraham, somehow in the mystery of God, became the focus of the Lord's saving plan, and the Lord approached Abraham. Note that Abraham didn't, in his efforts, climb the rope and then find God at the top of the mountain waiting for him. The Lord of initiative bowed low and approached Abraham and called him. He said, come out from your people, and Abraham left every thing he knew. He left his parents, he left his...

...homeland without having any idea where he was going, and he followed God because he believed God. When God appeared to him and spoke to him, he accepted the word of God in his heart, and he became the father of our faith. The scripture says that he believed God, and God counted his faith as righteousness. We learned from this initial interaction between God and Abraham that God is a seeker of men, that he wants communion with men, and that the way that men know God is by faith. What God is looking for is for us to trust him, to accept his word and to do his commandments. This is what Abraham taught us. Also, I want you to think with me about the patriarch Abraham and our Lord Jesus Christ specifically, I want you to think for me a minute about that. Jesus said, Abraham longed to see my day, and he saw it and was glad. He also said to the Jews before Abraham ever existed, I am you know what they did when he said that, they bowed down and picked up rock to kill him. That was the Jewish reaction to Jesus's proclamation of the truth of his own identity has eternality, the fact that he's always been with his father, that he's the co eternal son and Word of God and not just a man. Right, the Jews saw a man. We know Christ is more than a man, not less, but more. He's the god man that the anthropost, and he proclaimed it to the Jews. He said, Abraham knew who I was. In fact, Jesus and especially Jesus Is sacrifice was foreshadowed by the interaction that God had with Abraham when God had given Isaac miraculously to Abraham and Sarah. You remember the story. Sarah was past the age of child bearing, she was ninety. Abraham was a hundred and the angels came to visit them, and the Angel told her, when I come back, you'll have a son. And she was not the mother of our faith. She was a doubter. She laughed, She said, how could that be past the age of child bearing? But with God, all things are possible, and when he wills, the order of nature is overcome. And so our Lord's birth was foreshadowed by the miraculous birth of Isaac to Sarah when she was very old, And especially Jesus's crucifixion was for shout out when the Lord said to Abraham that he wanted him to take Isaac and offer him as a whole burnt offering on the top of Mountain Mariah, can you imagine? Here we see the greatest faith of Abraham, the boy that he had always wanted, that he thought he never could have, that God gave to him his only beloved son, Isaac. God now asked him to sacrifice. I would have launched into a diet tribe with God. Lord, have you lost your mind? Have you lost your mind? Did you forget what you said? This is the son you promised me, This is the one that you said would carry on my blessing to the whole world. And now you want me to kill him. Not Abraham, Abraham trusted God. St.

Paul says in the Epistle to Hebrews that Abraham assumed that if God wanted him to sacrifice his son, God was going to raise up him from the dead. I'll do God's will, and God that it appears to me that it conflicts with God's promise. But it can't conflict with God's promise. So God must be planning to raise my son after the dead from the dead, after I kill him. And so he walks with him to the top of Mount Mariah. He places the wood which had been on his back on Isaac's BacT on the altar, and his son says, but Father, where is there a sacrifice? And what does he say? God himself will provide the sacrifice my son. And then he puts his son there, raises the knife, and when he raised the knife, he hears the voice of God. Now I know that you fear me. Now I know. And he sees the rams stuck in the thick and he takes the ram and he offers it in place of Isaac. This incredible interaction between Abraham and the Lord God shows the incredible trust of Abraham and also foreshadows the greatest sacrifice of all, when not Abraham but God, the Father himself will offer his son and give his son as a love offering to the whole world, who himself will be crucified to save us. That's Abraham and Jesus. Abraham went his whole life from two thousand BC until the birth of Christ, yearning to see the Christ. He saw from by the mercy of God, he saw the Lord Christ born from his position in Hades. Through some divine vision, he saw the Lord be born. He saw the Lord break into to Hades on Great and Holy Saturday after he was crucified, and the one who had been longing to see him got to see him. The Father of us all got to see the sacrificed Son. I also want you to think about the patriarch Abraham and the mission of the Church. St. Paul says that he reminds us that when God appeared to Abraham, he told Abraham, Abraham, I will bless you, and I will make you a blessing to every family in the earth, for every family of the nations will bless themselves in you. And then he gets more specific, and he says, I will give you seed, and through your seat all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Paul and his Epistle to the Glaciers expounds upon this great promise that God gave to Abraham, and he says, don't be confused, He's not talking about all of Abraham's descendants are going to bless the world. Paul points out Sperama, it's a singular. God promised him, not seeds, but seed, and that seed is Christ. Abraham is in the line of our Savior. The means by which the Lord God was going to bless the world and every family in the world was through the birth of Christ. The promises of the Abrahamic Covenant came to fulfillment when Jesus was born, and the promise that God had made two thousand years before, the wheels of that promise turned and finally came in the fullness of time to fruition, and Christ came to save the world so that the promise to Abraham could take place, so that every person who follows Abraham in believing in Christ, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation,...

...could inherit blessings that no human mind can conceive, the love of God, incorporation into God's family, communion forever with each other and with the Holy Trinity, the divine life, forgiveness of sins, transfiguration. This this is the inheritance of the Church, and we carry on our work. When Jesus was raised from the dead, and he gathered us together, dear ones, and he told us to go into all the world and to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to keep all of his words, promising to be with us to the end of the age. All of that which we're trying to do is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham. And we even we even derive the spirit of our mission from Abraham. Do you remember when he entertained the angels of the Lord who came to him this revelation of the Trinity, and the angels informed him that they had come to do what they had come to destroy. Sodom, a land full of rebellion, a land full of sexual promiscuity and perversity, a land full of hatred and God's patience had run out. And what did Abraham do. He took his stand between the Angel of the Lord and Sodom, and he interceded for those who were in Sodom. And he said, Lord, if you find fifty righteous people there, will you destroy the righteous with the wicked? And the Angel said, I won't. But there weren't fifty righteous people. So Abraham said, if you find forty five there, will you destroy the righteous with the wicked? And the Lord said I won't. Well, what if there's forty there? Just to go that far it takes a lot of courage. Really, I'm sure he was shaking in his boots, but his love for his enemies was greater than his fear, and he continued to appeal to God thirty five thirty twenty. He was the great intercessor. Sadly, there weren't even ten righteous people in Sodom, and the fire and the hail at Brimstone rained down upon those lands, and the church fathers for hundreds of years appealed to where Sodom and Gomorra used to be, in the Jordan Plane, which was then just completely ruined land. They appealed to the land of Sodom to warn people about what rebellion against the mercy of God will bring. Abraham shows us in our mission to the world, the spirit that we should have. We carry the Gospel, dear ones, We carry the promise of the abrah habit comnant for the blessing of everyone in Christ, for the whole world, with a great spirit of being for the world. Abraham wasn't justifying their sins. He wasn't saying that sodomy was okay, that hatred was okay. No, but he was for them, nonetheless, for them, seeking their good with a heart desiring their salvation. And this is how the churches in the world.

Of course, we don't agree with evil, we don't participate. You heard the text this morning in the epistle. Come out from them and be separate. Come out from them and be separate. We don't live in that kind of life. But those who are living, we're seeking. We're interceding for we want to inherit the promises that are ours in Abraham and in Christ. Also, let me finish with having said something about Abraham and God, something about Abraham and Christ, something about Abraham and the mission of the church. Let me finish by saying something about Abraham in Paradise. He wasn't just our leader, dear ones on how to believe in God and how to trust him in this life. When he died and he went to Hades, he became our leader. There is a matter of fact, all of the righteous, everyone who has God, everyone who has believed in the Lord God and then died up until the time of Christ, was cared for by Abraham and Hades. This is why we call Hades the upper part of Hades, where the righteous are the bosom of Abraham. Remember the story from the Gospel of Luke about the rich man and Lazarus, and how when Lazarus died he was taken by the angels in a ware he found rest in the breast of the patriarch Abraham. This is where all the righteous lived. Abraham longed for Christ to come and bring them out of Hades, and he saw it, and he himself was taken to Paradise. And St. Athanacios the Great says on the last day, when Christ comes back and he judges the living in the dead, and we all stand before him, and he says to some those on the right enter you blessed of my father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. And to those on his left, he says, to the goats, depart from the cursed ones into the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels say nothing. Nacios the Great says that the saints are going to come out and bring us, escort us into the Kingdom of Heaven. He says, first, the Virgin Mary is going to come out, and she's going to take all of the pious monastics who have cherished their even there, all of their spiritual energy and even their sexual energy in order to drive themselves towards heavenly things, and she's going to bring them in. And he says, then the Patriarch Abraham himself is going to come out with his sons, the great Patriarchs Isaac and Jacob and Joseph, and they're going to escort all the believing families, all the husbands and wives, grandmothers and grandfathers, and the children who have believed in Christ. He's going to escort us all in the Patriarch himself into the next life. He was a person who thirsted for paradise more than anything else. He was rich, super rich, but he didn't care about his earthly riches at all. Everywhere he went as God led him around the Holy Land. Everywhere that the Patriarch Abraham went, he refused to build a house except for God. Everywhere he went. The first thing he did was to construct altars for worship. Then he opened his tent, and then he went outside, and he looked, and you know what he was looking for, the new Jerusalem. St. Paul says, Abraham was not interested in finding an earthly city. He looked for a city whose architect and builder was God, whose foundations were established in the heavens. That's how he lived on the earth as a sojourney He was a type of every Christian believer, of every pari shoulder, a sojourner,...

...a traveler on the earth on the way to Paradise. He made it, dear ones, by his faith. He's waiting for us. He's going to escort us in we are his children. To be sons and daughters of Abraham means to believe in Christ and to yearn for the Kingdom of God. Rejoice, rejoice, and having a father on this wonderful day of the Patriarch Abraham, rejoiced their ones on having a father like him, we are not fatherless couplement. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in other available titles, or if you would like more information on Patristic Nectar Publications, please visit our website at www dot Patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot Patristic Nectar dot org. M.

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