We ministered the Sacrament of Holy Baptism at Good Shepherd, Sioux Falls today.
I preached on "renunciation" of the world, the flesh and the devil, and affirmation of Christ as Savior, grace-giver and Lord. It is this renunciation and affirmation that leads to transformation, as we become more like Christ.
Later in the day, I bumped into the Epistle for The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. It is a portion of Ephesians 4, which speaks to our Baptismal identity:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires [renunciation]; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self [affirmation], created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness [transformation].
A few verses later is a wonderful illustration about the pattern of the baptized life in action (v.28):
He who has been stealing must steal no longer [renunciation],
but must work, doing something useful with his own hands [affirmation], that he may have something to share with those in need [transformation in the self-giving love of Christ].
This same wonderful model of renunciation-affirmation-transformation is in today's Revised Common Lectionary lesson from Philippians 2:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus... (vv. 3-5)
Thanks for writing about this powerful Ephesians 4 passage - I had also seen it at Prayer for Common Cause. I love that prayer site and along with this one and Lent & Beyond, they are favorite 'refreshment stands' online. Thanks for filling us with GOOD things from His Word and His heart in you.
Fr. Tim, excelent sermon. Keep up the good work of challenging us with practical steps to living the transformed life. Practical, simple, yet profound. God grant us the strength of your Spirit to follow where you lead.
floridian and greg, I can't tell you how much your comments lift me today.
I would so love to use this site and my time and energy to encourage Christians, but I find that much more time and energy than I want goes into TEC apostasy (and when I post on that, more people visit/comment, sadly).
Thanks be to God for His Pure Word and the Sacraments ordained by Christ. And thanks be to God for folks like you, the gathered faithful. Faithful people gathered for the Word and Sacraments - the visible church! (Article XIX).
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