The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 7 months ago

Crypto-Returns in Spiritual Life | St. Luke 8

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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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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a four part lecture series by Father Josiah trenum entitled Male and Female Reflections on transgenderism. These lectures directly address this latest iteration of the sexual revolution and the sexual anarchy unleashed by a cultural rejection of the Christian theological foundations of creation, anthropology, sexuality and the traditional therapeutic paths of the church. These lectures explain why Christians cannot reasonably avoid studying transgender ideology in today's cultural climate, how this new world view on sexuality finds itself deficient in explaining and healing are falling human condition, and how love must compel believers to open their arms to persons seeking God from a transgendered background. For these and other available titles, please visit our website at patristic nectar dot org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trennem. In the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, blessed Lord's they to your brothers and sisters, thankful for you very much for your faithfulness to worship God and to be in your father's house, also for your willingness to listen to the scriptures with a soft heart and to open your heart to me. God bless you. I've entitled my homily this morning Crypto returns in spiritual life. Yes, I saw some head pop up very quickly. Who would want to have crypto returns in spiritual life? You can find out right now this marvelous parable that we often call the parable of the sower. That's not a good title, by the way. It's found itself into a lot of bibles because a lot of bibles now are sold with an apparatus in it that wasn't in the original manuscripts, including titles, and most bibles in Luke eight in title this section the parable of the sower. It's not about the sower at all. Actually it's not about the seed either. Is completely focused upon the soils, the four different soils that receive the seed that the sower Christ so's. The focus is very much about the soils, which I'll get to in a moment. This is a parable about salvation. Jesus describes the hard soil, the soil that you would find on the little footpaths in Judea next to farmland, the paths that were packed down by people's feet every day. When seeds fell on that, it didn't go anywhere. Jesus describes some people's hearts that way. He says some people receive the word, but, he says, quote, the devil comes and takes away the seed from their heart so that they can't, he says, believe and be saved. This parable is about salvation. It's about how to be saved. Usually, when we're thinking about people being saved, we're thinking of the Preaching Ministry of the Church. We're thinking about those who haven't heard about Christ. This is why the Church has always sent forth missionaries. It's why she's always had an apostolic aspect to her existence. In any culture where she...

...is, we're constantly speaking about Christ, constantly telling people about Jesus, constantly welcome them to our churches and sending missionaries around the world. This is just what we do. That's how we normally think about it. We divide the world into two, the places where the Gospel has enlightened their hearts and brought the knowledge of the true God and the Salvation of the Gospel, and those portions of the world that don't know who god is. That's how we normally divide the world. This text, however, when it's talking about salvation, isn't talking about salvation for those who have never heard. Saint Paul says, if we confess with our mouth and believe in that Jesus is Lord, we believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, will be saved, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. And then he says, but how can they call upon one in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear if they don't have a preacher? And how can they have a preacher unless one is sent? That's the tenth chapter of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, and this is the theological basis for why we send preachers and missionaries. It's why priests talk to people all over the world and the faithful are constantly preaching, because the knowledge of Christ is necessary to be saved. But that's not what we're talking about here. The Salvation that this Gospel is talking about is a salvation that is either embraced or lost, and don't miss the terrible equation here. Three out of the four seeds preaching of the Gospel was worthless. No Salvation was obtained. Only twenty five percent of the soils received the word, unto salvation. This is talking about salvation amongst the people of God, where the word of God has preached. This is talking about us, dear ones. Jesus was giving this parable surrounded by his followers, by disciples who were following him everywhere he went. That should concern us. I think this is about how we hear the word of God, we who know Christ, we who are used to listening to him. When we hear the word of God in Church, like you just did. You heard the epistle lesson from Titus as though the Apostle, the great apostle, was standing in our midst speaking to you. You heard the Gospel lesson from St Luke just now, Christ speaking directly to you. I'm his representative to preach to you. You're hearing the word of God. How you hear will determine everything with regards to your soul salvation. When you hear the word read and preached, brothers and sisters, you're holding your heart in your hands. You're holding your salvation in your hands. Everything depends ends on how you receive it. Everything. You do not want to be hard soil, you do not want to be rocky soil, you do not want to be weedy soil, because none of those souls soils receive the word and bear fruit unto salvation. None. You want to be the good soil, the good soil that, in a good heart, receives the word and it bears fruit unto salvation. This is what this selvific parable is all about. Salvation requires hearing about the savior, but it also requires about learning about him in a certain way, Jesus says, the only way to know the...

...mysteries of God. If you listen carefully. This is what he just said in Luke. To you, it has been granted to know the mystery of God, to you who hear in such a way as to receive and obey what I'm saying. Everything depends upon our obedience to the word, our disposition to receive it unto application, not to receive it as evaluation. Oh well, father, did a pretty good job today, or all that sermons stunk. Whatever. You know, I don't care what you think. So why think it's completely worthless. Instead, listen for yourself, listen for your salvation. Forget me. I ask your forgiftness when I'm a flub and when it's pretty good, thank God, thank God, but the issue is not me, it's you. I have to listen to it first before I give it to you. Listen in such a way that you can actually receive it and obey it, because if you have that disposition, you'll know the mysteries of God, you'll understand who Jesus is, you'll be God's and you'll bear fruit for a long time. So the real question we have to ask is this. What kind of dirt are we? That's what we have to ask. What kind of dirt are we? Yeall know that you're made of dirt, dirt and soul, by the hands of God, fashioned a human being. The kind of dirt we want to be is soft, good, well prepared soil. This is the kind of soil that someone who is a farmer wants. This is why he plows his soil up, this is why he weeds it, this is why he takes visible rocks out of his soil so that it can be prepared. The soil can be prepared so that when the seed hits it, something's going to come up, up to pass, some actual fruit is going to be born. Think with me for a moment about these three nasty soils, the hard soil, the rocky soil, the weedy soil. What they have in common, according to the Gospel text, is the most important thing. They all have their unique descriptions, but what they have in common is that they don't bear fruit that remains. This is what they common. The fruitless hearing, and this is Jesus. The greatest concern is that he's going to preach with no effect, no actual tangible life application in those who are listening. This is what the three nasty soils have in common. The hard soil is a hard heart, a heart that's not broke them up. There's no compunction, there's no sense of unworthiness, there's no sense of desperation or need that is so common to every Christian who's growing. This is the hard heart. The rocky's hard as the the kind of soil that has a limestone layer under it that you can't see. It might be down there, eight or ten inches deep. So you've you put the seed on and it grows quickly, but then as soon as the roots hit the limes though the limestone base, it can't they can't go any deeper and it's cut off. You know, I see this, as you do, on the ninety one freeway every year, where you've to drive in the ninety one. We're going yetto from riverside or corona out to Orange County or we're coming back from Orange County and we get into that place right there near Chino where it's either absolutely grotesque Brown, or we've had a little bit of rain. A little bit of rain, boom, it turns into a Lush Green Paradise for a few days, maybe for a couple months, if it's a really good...

...season, maybe for a couple months, and then it's gone. Then it's back to Brown. This is exactly what Jesus is talking about when he's talking about the rocky soil. He's talking about soil that has a rock foundation underneath it that's not visible. What this means in the spiritual life is that we're all excited. We're all excited and we're gonna do something because that was a great sermon. I'm going to do that. Or we come to confession and they hear a word. Okay, I'm going to do that, and our enthusiasm is great and we do it for about two days and then we stop. This is the rocky soil. It's not helpful, does not bear fruit. Unto Salvation. The weedy soil is the soil that's the heart that's all mixed up in the world. The weedy soil is interested in the church, interested in Christ, interested in the word of salvation, but as an addition to a very full worldly life. Of course I love Christ. He's made my life so much happier. The better me with Jesus. I'm the bet or me. It's not. There's no self denial in that life. There's no establishing the Kingdom of God as our true ambition. We have an earthly ambition that we want to fit Jesus into because we respect him and because he says beautiful things, and we want that too, because we don't want to miss out on anything. We want to get everything the world have to give and everything Christ has to give, when in fact our savior says it's impossible. It's impossible if we love the world and the ways of the world, we can't be his disciples or as Saint James says, anyone who loves the world is an enemy of God. Ouch ouch. Jesus isn't here to make this world a little better, he's here to redeem the world and he's brought us, dear ones, to have one ambition, one ambition the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. This is what we're seeking. We know that this world is shaky, very shaky. If we haven't learned anything, we've certainly learned this in the last year or two, haven't we? It's very shaky, very shaky. There's only one kingdom that can't be shaken, and that's the kingdom that we belong to, and that's where our king is. So how do we avoid these three ones? How do we have the good soil, the soil that's prepared, that receives the word, holds it fast and bears fruit, unto perseverance. Because, make no mistake, the heart determines the disciple period. The heart that is soft, that is prepared, is an authentic Christian that will find salvation. The heart that is hard, shallow and weedy will not. Absorption is what's necessary. How to get the grace of God absorbed into your heart? So that it actually changes you so that you actually become what you, in your mind, think you should be. Listening to the word of God. You do that one and one way only, dear ones, and that is by preparing your heart like a farmer prepares soil. How do you do that? Well, you avoid the hardening of your heart by repentance, by confession. This is why it's impossible to secure the grace of God without a broken heart. It's impossible. It's also why, when you have a broken heart, when you take your sins seriously and you confess what beautiful things grow, all sorts of flowers, all sorts of...

...trees, all sorts of fruit comes out, because you're avoiding the heart soil, you're breaking it up. You're saying that Beautiful Psalm, have mercy on me, O God, according to that great mercy, and you're saying those words in that Psalm create in me a clean heart, and God does he does by taking your sins seriously enough to identify them, to speak clearly about them, to sorrow over them, to tell them to your confessor and to oppose them in your life. By amendment, this is the chief way that you avoid a hard heart. You know that Beautiful Psalm someone twenty five. It says that the person who sews with tears in the night will reap with rejoicing in the morning. This is what happens. When we are willing to have tears, when we're willing to look at ourself and repent, all sorts of joy flows, all sorts of happiness comes. You can avoid the rocky heart by insisting on application, by not just being what Paul calls an ear tickler, someone who wants their ears tickled. He says some people come and they listen to him, the Great Apostle and of course, his successors in the bishops and priests of the Church, because they want to hear something Nice. We heard this couple weeks ago in the feast of St Deonysius. Right. The Greeks liked it too. It wasn't just the Jews who are wanting to hear ear tickling sermons from Paul. All the Jewish philosophers used to stand around the areopagus and just hear something new. They always love to hear something new. But do you want to hear something that calls you to a new life? Do you want to hear something that will be selvific for you, but will require change. Do you want to hear something unto salvation? We should never hear a single sermon without thinking that we have to repent, should we? If we, if we hear a sermon, unless the sermon really stinks and is designed to like make you feel good or something. If that's the purpose of the sermon, I could understand it. But if you're if, can you really read the Gospel a single time and not feel after hearing it that you should repent? Do you notice how the Church teaches us this by the fact that in or throws, you just heard the gospel proclaimed it. What's the very next thing you say? P fifty. Why do you sing Psalm fifty every Sunday after the Gospels? Read an Orthros? Because the church is telling you it's impossible to listen to Christ in the Gospel and not recognize that you need to repent, and therefore we're going to provide some fifty for you so that you can repent after hearing the Gospel. We have to insist, brothers and sisters, insist on changing our life every day, every day, asking God's help and forgiveness every single day, every time we hear the Gospel. Every time we listen to a sermon, ask yourself, how is my life going to be different? What am I going to do today to apply what I just heard? You know, St John Krassosten counseled his people that when they would leave, not to forget what they heard read, to talk about the Gospel Lesson and to talk about the sermon. He said. Pick a flower, he said, as you're going home. I can only imagine the fields in Antioch. Pick a flower, he said, and then, as you would, twist it and look at it from all angles. That's how you should talk to your family about the sermon and the Gospel reading. When you leave church. Talk about it. What are we going to do, folks, as which we should say, fathers to his wife and children, wife to her husband, brothers and sisters to brothers and sisters.

How are we going to be different because of this? What are we going to change in our life today? This is how we should listen. St Paul says we have become partakers of Christ, as is in Hebrews three. We have become partakers of Christ if if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence until the end, we can't be like those quick springing up people who just disappear, and I'm encouraging you. Let me say a word to you catechumans. There's a lot of you right now. Nothing thrills my heart more than to see the word of God's sprout in the heart of a catechuman, to see the enthusiasm to find the church. But I want you to remember that enthusiasm has to be cultivated. This has to beginning of a lifelong process for you, catechumans. Don't draw near the Church and start the instruction and be all enthusiasm, enthusiastic, and then be received into the church and then disappear. It would have all been in vain and it will be to your judgment. You will be sorry you ever met the church. If you do that, you will be held to such a high standard. Having calm, having heard, having embraced and then fallen away. Don't fall away, let alone begin your catechism and not finish it. This has been a new phenomena. I think it's because of the numbers, but you know, I've always watched the recipivism rate for our catechumans. It's been, for us, around twelve percent after five years that's a horrible percentage, to horrible percentage to lose twelve percent from the active participation in the faith. Of course we want a hundred percent. Jesus did lose one of the twelve. I think that's eight and a half percent loss on our Lord's efforts with the twelve. But one of the new things now is some of our catechumens are literally disappearing after a year of catechism, before they've even been received. Dear ones, here the word of the church persevere to the end. If you want to be saved. There's no quick salvation. It doesn't exist unless you're a thief on the Cross. If you're going to live on this earth, this is the time to work out your salvation, to hold fast on to the end so that you're not the rocky soil. You can be a dragster. You come out of the shoot to go up to three hundred miles an hour, blow your motor and you can't even make it to the stinking finish line. Much better to come out of the shoot disciplined and resolved to the end. You can avoid being a weedy heart by not enthroning your feelings at the center of your life. People who are who are worldly, who have weeds and the pleasures of life which choke out the Gospel. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They want all the pleasures of life and Christ first principle of of our faith. Dear ones, deny yourself. You can't have them. You can't. If you choose the world, then find you choose the world, but you're not going to get the kingdom, because that's not what this life is for. This short life is designed for us to prepare...

...ourselves to be fit for God's presence eternally. That's why we're here. We're being made into the people he wants us to be made into to enjoy his kingdom forever. This is all preparation. This is not the kingdom. Those who are dominated by seeking earthly pleasures think that it's going to last forever. None of it will crush those feelings that tell you that you have to have Christ and comfort. Why would you want something Jesus never had? Let me say a final word about crypto returns. So what happens if you do this? What happens if you cultivate your heart? Right? You know this. When you cultivate your heart, and you hear God speak, you embrace it and you ask Lord, how can I put this into practice? The result is incredible. Matthew and mark say the result could be thirty, sixty or a hundred times. That is quite the return. This doesn't mean that one seed becomes thirty seeds. What it means is that the effort that the farmer is putting in, the investment he's making in that one seed, whatever it costs, whatever labor it was to put it in there, to water it, to watch it, will be multiplied in the harvest thirty times or sixty times or a hundred. Luke doesn't even deal with thirty or sixty. He just goes right to a hundred. If you do this, the return will be a hundred fold. This is how much fruit's coming. This bearing of fruit will enrich the church, it will enrich the glory of God, it will enrich yourself eternally. The good heart that's prepared will be full, full of God's presence, full of peace, full of joy, full of love. That is what's promised now for the person who prepares his heart, who works the soil and who breaks up his hardness. This is why we can hear, hear the word of the Prophet Amaya. He says this to the people, he said today, put the shovel in your hard heart, he says. Turn over your follow and dry grass. Up Root your heavy soil, he told the Israelites, so that a fruitful harvest can come Jerem my, for it's an incredible text. Turn over your fallow ground, prepare your heart there once and you'll have a hundredfold return. Then, 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.

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