The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 years ago

Put Your Salvation First!

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Learn more about Patristic Nectar Publications.

Ancient faith, radio and patristicNictur publications present the arena Sunday homilies and theologicalreflections with father, Jessiah Trena, knowing the ten commandments and whatthey mean. This is not for experts. This is not for monks and nuns orpriests. The Ten commandments are for every Christian, educated or uneducated.We should know the ten commandments like we should know the niein creed sothat when we lie at that moment, we become colaborers literal collaborators,with the devil in the work of his kingdom of darkness. How shameful isthe false teaching so often bantered about today by irresponsible clergymanthat the Church has nothing to say about the bedroom? What this reallymeans is that this very significant area of human life will remainunredeemed consigned to existence outside of Christ. The Light of Christilluminates all there is no aspect of human life, let alone one sosignificant, an influential as human sexuality that is not ennobled orinspired, guided purified and redeemed by our Lord Jesus and his teachirgs. What you have just heard are soundbitesfrom some of the lectures in a ten part. Lecture series entitled do this and youshall live an exposition of the Ten Commandments for the twenty firstcentury. latristic nectar publications invitesyou to download the first of these ten lectures here, an ancient faith, radio for more information and for theremaining lectures. Please visit our website at www, dot, patristic nectar,Donorg and now here's father Jessiah, with theSunday Hommiliy, the name of the father and of the sonand of the Holy Spirit, one God, brothers and sisters. Yesterday I washonored to participate in the funeral of a friend of mine and perhaps ofyours, the Nan Guliana one of the nuns of the Synnovia ofMother Victoria and Saint Barbara Monastery, I've known mother Juliana. For manyyears. I knew her first as girt. She was a church mom atd our parish up in Lompolk, SaintTimothy Church. When I lived up in central California, I got to see her alot because she was always invested in the church, ind, the ministries of theChurch. I was not surprised that, as she grew older and was by herselfwith her children that she made it the...

...choice to become a nun such a beautifulthing, to see a woman whose life was the church and service in the church,freed from the the ties of marriage, able to embrace a life of even greaterservice and to spend the last decade of her life praying all day every day and serving even more than she ever didwas a great beautiful witness that she provided us. It was an honor also to be there and toparticipate in the funeral, which was done at the monastery in themonastery chapel. It was so sober, so beautiful. The funeral for a monk orNAN is very different than the funeral for a lay person, and the hymthe D is very different.There's a whole cannon of hymns that are sung just about the life of what ofan aesthetic of a monastic and to be able to be there and toproceed out of the church at the end of the funeral to walk thirty feet for her burial, where she was buried. Just next to the Nonmariamni, who fell asleep inChrist about five years ago, it was it, was very beautiful and touching and to participate in a funeral that cost nothing. You could say that was a miracle these days, a service that was so arranged that all of ourenergies could be focused upon two things: Prayer and remembrance. We were burdened by the worldly thingsand the wondering what kind of loan we're going to take to pay for theCATILLAC that we're putting our reposed person in it was beautiful, absolutelybeautiful, but perhaps the most beautiful portion of the short visit that I madeto the monastery yesterday for the funeral was the three words I was able to hear fromother Victoria Iam. Like a flower Im. Let me explain before you contradict me, not reallyfather. I am like a flower, that's withered, because it has beenremoved from the Sun. When I was a young priest, my first five years as apreeze, I got to see Mother Victoria two and three times a week. I Got Thopray or throst with her every week and have a cup of tea receive some wisdom.She was in essence my catechist. Even when I was a catacuman, I learned mostof what I have learned about the Orthodox faith in preparation forbecoming Orthodox from other Victoria, and when I moved here, it hasprogressively become let more and more infrequent that I get to see her and Ihave progressively withered. So I was very delighted to be able tosee her and to hear three words which...

...boied me and refresh me. Let me tell you whatthe words were in the context we were passing. We believers were passing. You knowthose little trnt, Trie statements that we often stupidly make at funerals, oh she's, in a better place, soeverything's great bla, Blah Blah those statements that we say which aresuch radical contradictions of everything. We've just said in thafuneral service about weeping and wailing about the great trial that thesoul undergoes at the time of death about how hard it is to die. And thenwe just go to the mercy meal and we forget everything we said we starttalking like it was super easy and she's floating up on some cloud andshe's already there Bo, even though we pray fervently for fortydays for the passage of Hersal to Paradise. Do we not? I don't see how they're already there,what are we doing? What are we praying for anyway? So here's the three words fromother Victoria. In that context she heard some one say something and shesmiled and her had forehead wrinkled, and she said I hope so I hope so. It was a beautifulexpression of love perfectly consonant with the very things that we were justpraying. I hope so it's our wish. It's our prayer and it's sober, and thatsobriety is what I want to talk to you about being sover having a sober perspectiveon death and the after life. I read this week, statistics about Americans and their view on death andthe after life, and I found something that made sense to me. It certainly has beenmy experience, and that is that two thirds ofAmericans two thirds fully expect that when they die they're going to heaven sixty six per cent, guess how many expect to go to hell. One percent, one percent: Sixty six percent- expectto go to heaven, one percent going to on to besides these absolutelyhorrifying statistics, they are truly horrifying about ourshall, I say, spiritual over confidence, our lack of really grasping who we are and the struggle that we have besides these horrifying statisticsthis week, besides reading them and feeling wounded by them. I also heard words put into my ear,which are certainly the pastor's worst...

...nightmare. The words were these spoken by someonewho was contemplating whether or not they were going to go to heaven. The words are: I've never done anything bad in my life, so I think I should go to heaven. I've never done anything bad in my life,so I think I should go to heaven really. Is that how it works? If that's true, what in the world IESThe relevance of Jesus Christ? What is the purpose of the cross? Why did he come and die fas long as you in your own opinion,don't think you've done anything bad in your life will certainly go to heaven.Why do we call him savior if we don't need saving? Why do we adore his resurrection ifdeath isn't a really serious threat to our lives, because we're not sober- and I want usto be solver? I want us to have a sober perspective.Like Mother Victoria had a sober perspective on death and the after life. You heard those words in the Gospel, those beautiful consoling inspiringwords, perhaps the most famous New Testament text from John's GospelChapter Three that we read because we're preparing to celebrate the Feastof the Cross. This week the exultation of the Cross on thefourteenth is coming and the church is preparingus for it by allowing us to hear those beautiful words where Jesus says asMosas slippeid up the serpent in the wilderness. So must the son of man be lifted upthat all who believe in him might not perish but have ever laughting life,for God, Shou Love the world that he gave his only begot and son that all who believe in him might notperish, but live forever possess life, everlasting? What abeautiful text there is a word in here. However, that will help us become sober,and it's the word in that text that I want to talk about. It's the word. Perish perish it's the word. That explains why,in the love of God, The Sun was sent, the sun was sent because if the sunwasn't sent, we would perish. He was send so that we would not perishin our sins so that we would not be swallowed up by that nasty monster thatgreat enemy of death and Hades and many times in the Gospel accounts, brothersand sisters. Our Saviour talks about...

...perishing. You know he spoke more about death,perishing and the threat of judgment and hell than every otherbiblical author, Isaa Izekiel, Peter and Paul all ofthem. Almost forty of them. Jesus spoke more about these sober subjects ofdeath, perishing the judgment, then, all of those authors combined. He warned us that we were in danger ofperishing. If we didn't forgive, he warned us that we were in danger ofperishing. If we called our brother a fool, he warned us that we were in danger ofperishing. If we denied him publicly, we are in danger of perishing if wefaild to confess him before men, we were in danger of perishing. If wejudged others, we were in danger of perishing if we use terrible words, wewere in danger of perishing, especially if we were indifferent to him and hismessage, and there are many more accounts. Besides all of those references.Besides all that clear teaching to put our feet on the ground to help usreally recognize the mess that were in and how desperately we really need him and why his salvation is so importantand why the cross should be the absolute joy of our life. Besides all those things, he alsocalled us to take serious action against perishing. Remember histeaching where he says if your right hand causes you to stumble slice it off. If your right Iy is causing you to sin,pluck it out how more aggressive could he be? How more serious could he be calling us to repentant so that we wouldn't perishit's better? He says to have one eye one hand, one foot than to have themboth and go into. You know where now some people hear this t hear this and they're uncomfortableabout it, I'm uncomfortable about it and they say well, don't take thosethings. Literally. Jesus is talking about all of thosethings, but you know he's talking about Hell and fire and you're going to bethere in your soul. So how could a fire be there because he calls it darkness.Obviously, he's not talking literally there's no question that he sums upeverything by saying: Don't fear anyone who can kill the body but can't kill the soul, fear him. He says who has the power tocast both body and soul into hell? He calls all of us to fear that to beconcerned about that. So I would say to the person who says:Well, you know this is not all literal, I will say you're right. These aremetaphors. That's because the literal description,and even this metaphor that we're using...

...these multiple images cannot grasp the full weight. The fullsignificance of the truth so say that it's not literal, that's no comfort,brothers and sisters, you're right. It isn't literal, it'smuch worse. So worse, in fact that our savior said to his disciples, who were going to bekilled, hung put into boiling oil chopped into pieces crucified, he said:Don't fear that that's kids play, don't fear those who can kill the body because they can't touch your soul. Youwant to be afraid of something be afraid of him who can cast both souland body into hell. Oh, this is sobriety. No, you may be saying Fothor. Why areyou telling us this? What's the? Why are you sobering us? Well, let mejust tell you I because I love you, that's why I'm celbrating Ou, I loveyou and I want you to live like Christians. Christians do not have a high opinionof themselves and float around their life being soconfident that they're going to heaven, I'm sorry its not how we live, we're much more likely to think others are going to heaventhan ourselves, and if we don't take the possibility ofperishing seriously. We are certainly not going to appreciate and adore whatour saviour has done for us. If we don't take the misery of our lifeand what it means to really be in thralls of battle with death and sin,and corruption in ourselve. We're really not going to understand howbeautiful our savior is, how he triumphed over these things, how he was willing to be with us kindof in our mock in our mess and defeat our enemies. We're not goingto adore the cross as our hope of salvation we're not going to adore theresurrection as our certain confidence. Despite the fact that we have done manyterrible things, and I want you to adore our saviour andto worship the cross and to experience the love of God, which has conqueredHelen Sin. And mostly, I want you to be moved to be afraid of living your life foryourself this is the bottom line. This is the number one thing I want youto think those who are concerned about theirsouls and about salvation don't just hold tightly to the CROFSand refuse to let go. They don't allow themselves to fall into delusion andfantasy about the fact that they have...

...never done something wrong. Thereforethey should go to heaven. They keep a humble perspective, whichis the truth they hold on to the cross, and they know that the great threat intheir life is that they might live for themselves that they might actually be swallowedup by self centeredness, which iscertainly a foretaste of help. Jesus is motivating us by hisseriousness, to put our salvation first put at first above everything else, because where we end up is going to be a reflection of how wespend our life here. Heaven and hell are very much about getting the ways oflife that we and our freedom have chosen to have established here, and ifwe make our saviour and his worship and discipleship to him one, it's going tobe a natural transition for us. It will make sense for us to be recipients ofhis salvation, which he's accomplished for us on the Cross and ineresurrection and for us to be with him. But if our whole life is aboutourselves and serving ourselves, because we don't take death seriously,we don't take the next life seriously and we have not heeded our words, thewords of our saviour to fear and to be serious to do whatever it takes. If it will benatural for us to go from that self centered life to the ultimate place ofselfcenteredness, which is Gena. I want to leave you, as I did last week with a quote from CS Lewis. It's a very beautiful quote that helpsbring th the dangers of the next life andespecially of judgment from ideas that we can't relate to sometimeslike fire and how's that going to help happeninternal punishment. What did I do for that? He brings through this quote thatdistant concept very close to us, so that we can become sober and put oursalvation forth to listen to what he says. This is Heus. Lewis Hell begins with a grumbling mood. All was complaining, always blamingothers, but in this life you are still distinctfrom it. You may even criticize this in yourselfand you may even wish to stop it, but there may come a day when you canno longer, then there will be no. You left...

...to criticize the mood and there will beno, you left even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself going on forever.Like a machine, it's not a question of God's sending usto hell in each of us. There is something growing which will be hellunless it is nipped in the bud. Oyou understand what you say. Doesn't this bring the next life into closer perspective, something that wecan grasp and touch brothers and sisters? Let's be serious, let's defythose statistics, let's be amongst those who think that if we willbe saved, it will be in spite of us by the grace of God and let's be those who have a healthy,sober fear of being swallowed up in a life of selfservice. Let's have a healthy fear that we justmight have something growing in us that if we don't nip it in the bud, well behell before we know it Ommen. We hope that you have enjoyed and havebeen edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar,Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing thes,spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers until next time.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (545)