February 17, 2017

Law Defines the Love of Holy People (Proper 7)

The Ten Commandments are spiritual laws that define holiness or wholeness in Christ. I am quite frankly tired of vague liberal sermons on love that seem to suggest that law is judgemental and unloving - and can sometimes be set aside for pastoral reasons. It was an Epiphany moment for me to realize that Law defines holy love. Not vague romantic or sexual love but holy love. The Readings help us understand the importance of holiness in our lives. As Men and Women "of Jesus" we have died to the unholy things of this world and been reborn into a new spiritual life of holy sacrificial love, joy and peace.

1. Holy Love Is Self-sacrificial
In the Gospel Reading (Mt. 6.38-48) Jesus is defining self-sacrificial holy love as the opposite of "getting even". This is the opposite of our human sense of justice as
punishment. This only makes sense if we think of what is going on spiritually. For example, if we 'pay back' the volume of emotional anger only increases. By paying back our personal spirit becomes polluted by our anger at the other person or situation. We may feel a temporary rush of victory and justice but there is un-forgiveness in our heart or personal spirit.
  • ·         Un-forgiveness is a terrible sin -  we prevent God from forgiving us, if we ask to be "forgiven our sins as we forgive"
  • ·         We have ministered to many people whose lives have been crippled by the long-held spiritual pollution of un-forgiveness.
  • ·         Holy love absorbs the 'hit', forgives and diffuses the anger and keeps our personal spirit holy and unpolluted

2. The 10 Commandments are spiritual laws of holiness and love
The Leviticus 19.2 prophecy to "Be holy because I, the Lord your God am holy" is not optional. 'God is holy' means if we want to be part of His holy Kingdom we must  have taken our un-holiness to the Cross and have holiness through living spiritually in Jesus.
  • ·         Holiness is a lost spiritual value in our culture
  • ·         Inclusiveness - without conditions is not Biblical
  • ·         10 Commandments define holy love of God, self, neighbour
  • ·         Steeling grapes left behind that holy love requires for the poor
  • ·         lying and deception pollutes truth and God's holy order
  • ·         Murder / slander / adultery pollute trust, life, holiness, order

·         10 Spiritual Laws of Holiness protect us from spiritual pollution and un-holiness leading to personal spiritual death

The Bema in Synagogue where Paul taught in Corinth, Greece

3. Our Identity is to be Holy People "of Jesus" (1 Cor. 3.23)
I remember a long time ago when our Anglican bishops were going off-message and we were considering leaving hearing a bishop in another, break-away denomination described as a "real man of God". I wept, it was so wonderful to know there was a "man of God" in the wider Church. The apostle Paul is reminding the Christians in Corinth of their new identity as men and women "of Jesus" (i.e. belonging to OR coming from).
·         Spiritual life is through death to self / new life "in Jesus"
·         Warning them to stick to the foundation of faith in Jesus
·         Not to  listen to false teachers  laying a new foundation
·         Earthly body is to be a temple of the Holy Spirit
·         God's Law guides us as we discover, heal, nourish and protect our personal spirit
·         Personal Spirit gives holy life to our body

·         Earthly body reflects the love, joy and peace of Jesus

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