The 2nd Sunday after Trinity

“MARVEL not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.”

Brethren, we live in a time that tries the hearts of men. It makes us thinks thoughts that we would not otherwise think…a cause for reflection…an occasion for contemplation…a time for soul-searching. And no matter how bleak it may look from a worldly standpoint…Christians know and believe that it is a time of grace.

“God arises in judgment so that he may help all the meek upon the earth.”


“The LORD does well unto those who are good and true of heart.”

AND yet again,

“…thou [O LORD] shalt save the people that are in adversity, and shalt bring down the high looks of the proud.”

(This means that in order for God to save his people…he has to humble the proud hearts). Peace shall come in no other way…and he has an infinite number of ways to reveal the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Right now, as Christians, we are between two worlds. Our bodies dwell in “enemy occupied territory.” Our heart, our thoughts, our souls ascend and dwell in the Kingdom of Heaven. We get our marching orders…so to speak…from Jesus Christ. And we carry them out in this world…not really considering, too much, the opinions of godless, confused or deceived people. For to regard in higher esteem the fickle requirements of man while being distracted from the one thing that is necessary…will help no one.

“MARVEL not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.”

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. The word for brethren is “adelphos”. It means “from the womb.” In the Greek world, it meant those who had the same mother, or grandmother or great grandmother. Those of the same family…brothers and sisters…aunts, uncles, cousins. In the ancient world, the term is used in this purely natural sense. But this is not what the Apostle John means. When he speaks of “the brethren”, he means Christians. Those who have been born again into the Kingdom of Heaven. Baptism. Those who, through grace, receive the Son of God. Those who confess that he came in the flesh and live in the newness of life that the Holy Spirit gives. Are you wondering if you have passed from death to life? Do you love God? Do you love the brethren? Do you love the Church. Do you love to worship God with his people? Do you desire to dwell at peace with all men? Do you realize that this will only come when the King returns to set up his Kingdom? Do you know that our life here, in this enemy occupied territory, will be characterized by the cross, by suffering, and by trial? There are many things here that will scandalize and astonish, the hearts of men that are made faithful and pure through grace.

Let us picture it now…A group of first century believers…joined together in the gospel. Filled with new found faith, hope and, charity in the One True God. Devoting themselves, for God’s sake, to love and kindness, tenderness and sincere affection for all men…and what do they receive from those that are not Christian…for the most part, they receive hatred, spite, persecution, calumny, misunderstanding, false accusations, etc. These believers are astonished. They marvel. They begin to waver and doubt. The root of bitterness may begin to defile. Like all sincere people, they wonder if they are doing something wrong. Then, this little flock, receives a letter from the Apostle John. They open it up and read these words…  “MARVEL not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”

No, you are not doing anything wrong. Do not be concerned. After enduring, the Lord will strengthen your heart and you will see that this is a good sign. Nevertheless, continue to love, especially one another, your fellow brothers, who are going through these trials with you. “[for] We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.” Hang on. Do not be afraid. Just be faithful to him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Our aim is to be faithful, in this world, to hold fast the faith of our Fathers. Our goal is to be a society under the cross of Christ…With the hope of his coming…His love alone in our hearts…showing forth, in thousands of simple ways, the morality, nobility, and heroism of those who have been crucified with Christ. AMEN.

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