The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 10 months ago

Teaching and Preaching | 2nd Sunday of Pentecost

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The Gospel Revealed: An Exposition of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a new eleven lecture series by Father Josiah Trennem, entitled The Gospel revealed, an exposition of Saint Paul's epistle to the Romans. This most famous of all Saint Paul's letters is a majestic proclamation of the Christian Gospel, a Gospel described as the power of God revealed from Heaven for the salvation of all who believe. The Great Apostle sets forth the dire need of all human beings for God's saving work in Jesus Christ, as well as the majestic fruits that attend faith in the lives of Christians. Here, in sixteen chapters, Saint Paul expounds many themes that have captured the Christian imagination for twenty centuries. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trennem. In the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit of blessed Lord's Day, to all of you, brothers and sisters, during these sacred days of pentecost, we have been dancing and celebrating the miracle of the church the Kingdom of God on the Earth, the fact that we are part of an abiding, holy nation made up of people from every tongue and language and every earthly kingdom. We've been dancing because the church can't be shaken and she won't be defeated by any form of darkness, any power of Satan. Today, into that joy of pentecost in our nation, we celebrate our national independence day, the birthday of the United States of America, and we slow down as a people, as we should, to contemplate living here in this country, to honoring our country and our forbears, thinking not just about our heavenly citizenship but also about our our earthly citizenship. And make no mistake, brothers and sisters, we have two and they're both important. One is not as important as the other. Our heavenly citizenship is our great glory, but, following our forefathers, we respect God's providence in arranging our lives, causing us to be born or raised or currently live of in this nation. We are not citizens of the world. That is utter, total nonsense. There is no such thing. There never has been any such thing, and I certainly hope there never will be such a thing as one empire in the world. We're citizens of the United States of America. Most of us here to say that is not as sweet as it used to be. It used to be a lot sweeter. Friday we celebrated in this temple the Feast Day of St John of San Francisco, the wonder worker, God's great gift to US Californians. Afterwards some friends of the family came for that feast and we took a dear friend out to coffee afterwards before he travels to Oxford to begin his second PhDs. Brilliant Man. And when ...

President Parah went into get the coffee, though, it was July second. That God forsaken awful company still had about fifteen or twenty gay pride parade flags posted everywhere, like in your face, in your face here, here's your half and half, open up and let me stick a flag in your throat. That's what it was. And so Presley there came to the cash register and she said, you know, it's not pride month anymore, it's July second. Maybe they're trying to turn it into pride your who knows what stupidity they're trying to do next, just because our country is miserable and declining doesn't mean we don't love her. Just because our country is abandoning very quickly, and has been for years, it's glorious heritage doesn't mean that we don't care and that we throw patriotism to the side. It just means that our patriotism has to be more studied, it have to be more sincere and it have to be with pain of heart. It have to be with a true word, with courage like it didn't used to be. If we applied that kind of love, the kind of love that stops loving when someone becomes unlovely, what kind of Christians would we be? What would our families be like? What would our fellowship be like we only loved each other when we were lovely instead of continuing to love and even increase the love, when we're unlovely? That doesn't mean we make excuses or that we cover over vulgarity or in any way place the interests of our nation above the interests of the Church and of Christ Kingdom. Not suggesting that, but love our country we still do, and love our country we must. Five years ago this week, a young man named Daniel Chun was murdered here in Riverside we knew Daniel. Not long before his murder, he had vandalized our church. He broke into our parish hall with another one of his buddies, stoned to the clouds on cannabis, to steal our sound system. But they decided when they broke brought in that they should smoke a few more joints inside the building before they fole the equipment. And the result, of course, was that that gave the alarm time to reach the police and our own Joseph Thornburgh to be called and to rush over to the building and to spy them out from inside and wait for the police to come and arrest them and arrest Daniel and his compatriot. They did. They took them to jail and I saw Daniel some weeks after he was let out of jail here when he came to beg my forgiveness. Yeah, right there, right in front of the shrine of Saint Andrew, he came to me and he identified himself as the thief who broke into our church and he said he was ashamed of himself and asked for my forgiveness. I was so happy. I embraced him and in the name of Jesus forgave him and assured him of God's happiness at what he was doing, and I also did it on your behalf. I did it for you. He promptly went out...

...and the next thing I heard was the about two weeks later he was murdered and his body was thrown into a wash basin here in Riverside and left. I wouldn't have even known that if one of our parishioners who was privy to what had happened, wasn't reading the paper so studiously and found his name and thought weight and went on did a search and made the connections and then brought it to my attention. I have made sure to remember Daniel each year these last five years, not only be because his repentance moved me, but also because his tragic the portion of his life that I knew that was tragic and that ended so miserably reminds me of what's happening. It's a very clear picture of what's happening in our country, tangible witness to the moral and spiritual decimation of our nation, the presence of drugs and the total abuse of drugs and our culture, a people who despise reality and are so vacuous from the joy of the Lord that they need to alter themselves to be at peace, to feel good. It's such a sad testimony the rise of drugs because behind it is an abhorrence of reality, of their own existence has to be escaped. The rise in drug use, the rise in violent crime and, worse, the loss of all sense of the fear of God, of the holy that must be respected, of the place of religion and society and especially of the sanctity of the church. These were common American convictions for the vast majority of our history. I'm not justifying every form of crazy religion that existed in our country, and there never has been a country that's produced as many unique forms of religion as the United States, and there's no more religiously diverse country today than the United States, but that those truths don't nullify the truth, which is that the name of Jesus with loved and revered and Christians and Christian churches were deeply respected for the vast majority of our history and the place of pastors not just tucked in safely in the little four walls of their churches, but in public life. It was a foundational way, the American way. It wasn't just a pure secularism. It was a secularism that respected religion and its product as necessary to survive. Today, lawsuits. We just tie up another one our fifths in my tenure here. Lawsuits, vandalism and theft against Christian churches has exploded in recent years. If you follow the news, you know how many churches have been burnt in our country and in Canada this last year. Not a week goes by churches aren't being torched, statues of Jesus being toppled, graffiti being marked out on church doors. It's one of the many terrible metrics that can be used to gage the spiritual collapse of Christians in our land. We used to know better than we know today. Did you hear what I said? We used to know better. It's a matter of knowledge. We used to know better than we know today, and it's that subject of knowledge that I want to use the rest of my time in my homily...

...to talk to you about, because that is what you heard in the Holy Gospel text right now, that marvelous short six verses from Same Matthew Chapter Four, so dear to us because it's the call of the Apostles and Saint Andrew Mentioning Peter and Andrew, John and James, Jesus calling them to follow him, and then that magnificent conclusion to the Gospel text that Jesus went everywhere teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people. You see there Jesus is absolute commitment to constantly teach, to an effusion of instruction, a radical, zealous investment in preaching and teaching. That is the example of our savior. That is what brought the salvation of the apostles and the early Christians to pass and birth the church, which has been a light and a teaching force about the knowledge of God for twozero years. So when I say we used to know better, it's true, because we used to have far greater content Christian contact, known and preached and taught in our land in every single venue, not just in our public schools, which become whore's and servants of Satan, but in every venue, on the news, the media, in our universities and certainly in our churches. And Christians knew of all stripes, not just Orthodox Christians. Catholics were very serious about their education and about teaching in catechism. Some of you may know one of my great models who I revere so much. Apart from his few Catholic heresies, were not going to talk about those right now, but Archbishop Fulton Sheen was a veritable machine of Christian teaching, the most watched TV personality in one thousand nine hundred and fifty five of all and all he did there with to sit and talk with a white board and a piece of chalk about God, the Holy Trinity, salvation, repair, entence, Christian virtues, cultivating the faith. Now, we used to know better because we used to teach better. We used to preach better. No Christians in this nation would ever have contemplated the idea of somehow being relegated to the walls of the church. Oh yeah, religious freedom means you can do what you want in those four walls. Laughable, absolutely laughable. It's not our history. No, teaching and preaching is the theme. You See it in this gospel text, so marvelous. It's what our Savior was fully immersed in, constantly teaching and preaching everywhere he went. And the result was that he thrilled the hearts and he amazed the minds of people who listen to him. Because that's what the truth does. It thrills the heart and it amazes people's minds and it changes life. The Holy Spirit alters people's lives through preaching and teaching. There is no church without preaching and teaching. There are no Christians without preaching and teaching. Matthew and the Gospel records many additional similar statements throughout the Gospel, besides this one in chapter four. In Our Gospel, in Chapter Seven, at the end of the sermon on the Mount we read this. When Jesus had finished these words, the words of the sermon, the crowds...

...were amazed at his teaching. Matthew goes on and adds a few more perspectives to Jesus is teaching. He explains the venue, the wide locusts of Jesus's efforts. Quote in all the cities and villages, Jesus was going throughout them teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom. So he's expanding even on what was said in chapter for it wasn't just in that one place that Jesus was constantly preaching and teaching, that one region, that one district, note everywhere, in all cities, in all villages. This is what he did, constantly preaching and teaching. To be it his means to be constantly preached to and constantly taught. It's impossible, brothers and sisters, to be his disciple and not to be a constant learner. If we're not learning, were failing at the most basic element of being disciples, of being Christians. Non Learning Christians is a contradiction in terms. Saint Matthew also provides us an insight into the motivation behind Jesus is teaching and preaching. In chapter nine he says this, quoting again, that he was teaching in all the villages and cities, seeing the people. He felt compassion for them because they were distressed and dispirited, like sheep without a shepherd. Here you see the very logic what's compelling Jesus to do so much preaching, what's compelling him to do so much teaching and the apostles in the church ever since, because without it were lost where, sheep who don't know where to go. And it's the compassion of God it's his desire to guide us on the narrow way, to bring us to himself, into a life of beauty. This is what motivates the Lord God to raise up his church, to be the teacher of the nations, to enlighten the world. It's a heart of compassion. This is why pastors who have the love of God have to die preaching and teaching. So why they have to exhaust themselves, they have to hurt themselves, their eyes, their backs, their hands, they have to constantly make no excuse for neglecting the scriptures. The apostles were very clear. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted from the word of God in prayer. They refused, and act chapter six, to let anything take them away from being the motor of the propagation of light into the lives of the people of God. The subject of Jesus is continuous labors and teaching, and Preaching Continues In Matthew's Gospel with great interest in Chapter Thirteen, where Matthew reveals to us so much of the inner content of Jesus is teaching, especially his use of parables. And then at the end of that Chapter Matthew writes this, and he was teaching in all of their synagogues so that the people were amazed. Jesus himself addresses the subject of teaching again in Chapters fifteen and sixteen, both describing his own teaching and also warning his disciples against the teaching of heretics, of the Pharisees and the scribes and people who would give them poison. He says, avoid that, Leavin, stay away from that teaching. I was saying something to someone recently about the teaching platform that we priests have on Youtube and I was mentioning how, as as a Christian priest using youtube for teaching, you have to...

...have long suffering, you have to have patience in there, because the very choice of topic is so unusual. To speak about God, to speak about the nature of being a human being, about the works of Christ in salvation. These things are not as popular to people as the buzz of twitter, of of politics. I laugh because I don't know. Some months ago I read and reflected upon a book by Klaus Schwab called the great reset to an important book, not near as important as the Holy Bible, it's an important book. I read the book, I made some reflections on it and within like two three four weeks I had a hundred fifty thousand views and I thought to myself, Curiolason, why do I not have a hundred and fifty thousand views on Pentecoft a's a revelation of the Trinity? Is God, the Holy Trinity, just not that popular? Yes, it's true. It's true. So our efforts aren't at just reaching people. We have to help people reorient their whole valuation scheme and not be dictated, not have their own interests guided by platforms of social media that are designed to bring forth passions. We have to stay and, by our very focus, help people understand what is worthy of thinking about and what not thinking about, and politics is certainly an important area. I totally reject those who suggest priest should not talk about politics. If that's true, throw out all the saints who are great preachers, bishops and priests, because not a one of them didn't talk about politics, but not anywhere as interesting as important as talking about God and US and salvation. In chapters twenty one and twenty two, Jesus himself appealed to his open and public and constant teaching in the temple, this time not in the synagogue at the time when he was arrested in the garden of Gatsemite, and the entire Gospel itself ends with these beautiful words of the Lord to his disciples. After his resurrection from the dead, go into all the world, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and Lo, I'm with you all was to the end of the age. He ends his instruction to his disciples prior to his dissension, with a call to teach every nation everything he ever taught. Teach the nations everything I taught you, and I'll be with you to enable you to do it. Here you see laid out the Great Teaching Commission of the Church, of the whole body, of the flock, of every one of you. You have multiple venues that Jesus is asking you to embrace. This call to preaching and teaching. Start with yourself. Preach to yourself and teach yourself every single day. Let not a single day go by, dear ones, when you are teaching yourself something of import something about the saints, something from the Scriptures, something from a beautiful book that Alters Your Life. If you want to have your mind thrill in your heart amazed, if you want to be depressed like most of our country, don't do it. But if you want to be thrilled, if you want to be a joyful person, then do this. Except that...

...this is basic. It's not for the spiritual ones in the parish, it's not for the academics. Has Nothing to do with academia. Well, maybe a little bit, maybe a little bit, but this is the call of every believer. Jesus left us this charge. Teaching and preaching is the very top the word of God is that precious. Our Salvation emerged from the preaching and teaching of the Church. This is how the apostles were saved by Jesus is be preaching. This is how the churches that they founded were saved by their preaching. This is why Paul says in his epistle to the Romans whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. And how can they call upon someone of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear if they don't have a preacher? And how can there be a preacher unless they're sent? You hear Paul's beautiful words here. This is the Church's commission. No one will be saved if we don't embrace the task of preaching and teaching. You know how much I love I've quoted it many times over the years in my sermons, that text from acts, Chapter Eight. It's the it's an it's an account of the great first grade persecution against the church in Jerusalem, when all the believers scattered and left Jerusalem after Pentecov except the apostles. That's a very important phrase. It says except the apostles who remained in Jerusalem. The reason I'm quoting that text from Maxadis because it says that everywhere they and that they is without apostles. Everywhere they went they were preaching the word. It's the commission of the whole Church, preaching to ourselves, teaching ourselves are children, our grandchildren, our Sunday school children, our neighbors, our friends, those that we love, each other, sharing a beautiful word with each other, thrilling each other's hearts, amazing each other's minds by teaching and preaching to each other and bearing it out to the world. All of our ministries, all of them, sit on a bed of a torrent of inspire teaching and preaching. There's no other way. The apostles did it. Paul preached so much and so long. You remember the story in the acts of the apostles. He was preaching so long it went into the night. Can you imagine? Right now, you expect me to preach maybe between fifteen and thirty minutes, like ninety five percent of my homies are between fifteen and thirty minutes. What if I decided that I had something really important to say and I kept you here until dinner? How many would be left in this? I would find out who the really really devoted are. I'm not going to do that, don't worry, at least not this week. Paul did that. He preached literally into the night, so much that a young man who was sitting in the window sill passed out, fell asleep and fell out the window to his death. And Paul had to go down and raise them from the dead and say hey, you know, I wasn't done yet. Come back and getting that windows still. This is how it was. Saint Andrew, Brothers and sisters, crucified on that Cross upside down, preached for three days until he died. This is how he ended his life, crucified, an upside down crucifixion, upside down, stopping me preaching? No, I don't think so. This is our patron saying. Saint Andrew of Crete, whose feast we can we keep today, who was the great melodist of...

...the church, who wrote the Great Canon of repentance that we chant in great lent. Right there, Saint Andrew of Crete, the incredible preacher and teacher of the church, who who, when he spoke, people would stop just whatever they were doing, did they would be frozen listening to him. People would be reconciled to each other just by listening to the man preach. Do you know that he couldn't speak for the first seven years of his life? It's completely dumb. God gave him the gift and then he employed it to our salvation, teaching us how to repent to this day, to serve God, to be saved, to fulfill his will in this world and to help rescue our beloved nation in such pain. We have to be dedicated with great devotion and zeal to learning and subsequently to teaching and preaching. We must be zealous students ourself of the Lord's ways, and we have to push aside other distractions and pay attention to the Lord's words and to beautiful words, as though our souls and the prosperity of the church depends on it, because they do. Let us learn our faith, sanctify our mind, open our hearts and thirst for growth. Amen. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by patristic nectar publications, a non profit 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 W W. W dot patristic nectar dot org.

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