The Sunday after Theophany – Mt. 4:12-17

theopanyThe Sunday after Theophany – Mt. 4:12-17 January 12, 2014

Build on the Rock

The Lord advised us to build our house on the rock, not on shifting sand; then when the storm comes we can withstand it and be safe. What is the foundation, the rock in your life? What happens when storms come at you and your family?

We are in the week following the baptism of our Lord, and the sequence is after His baptism He went into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days and then withstood the temptations of the evil one. When He came out of the wilderness what was He teaching? Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand. This is the beginning and the foundation, the cornerstone of our foundation in Christ, repentance.

 

  • The foundation of the Christian life is repentance

 

All disciplines have to have a good foundation, like a house, to play an instrument, to play a sport, to climb a mountain.

As Christians we are called to know and understand the foundation for a solid spiritual life.

It is no use talking about anything else if we don’t first learn how to repent. It does us no good to do good works if there is no repentance, no love.

We are without hope of salvation without repentance.

 

What is repentance? It is the act of turning to God. Admitting to ourselves and to God that without Him, without His forgiveness, His Life, His salvation, we can do nothing.

The very first part of turning back to Him is acknowledging that there is a problem. We have to be honest about who we are and what we have done with our lives. We have to examine not just our outward acts, but also our inner thoughts, desires and beliefs.

We do all of this now with careful scrutiny in order to make sure that the foundation is solid. Have I truly repented? Am I truly repenting? Do I continually turn to God, to seek Him, to obey Him? Or are you like me and forget Him most of the time?

We can do all the outward things correctly but that will not translate into true repentance.

  1. Repentance is an attitude-a lifelong practice

Let us realize that all we have is a gift, even repentance. Without the illumining power of the Holy Spirit convicting us of sin, calling us to repentance, we are lost.

A spirit and attitude of humility is the beginning of and fruit of repentance. If we are truly sorry for our sin we will remain humble. This is why we cannot forget our past sins, to keep us aware of our need of a savior.

I realize I need to continually repent in order to truly follow God and obey His commandments.

This is because I do not cease to sin just because I repent. I continue to sin, so I must continue to repent.

Recently a friend asked me, “Why do I need to have my house blessed? I had that done a few years ago.”

I asked, “Have you sinned in your house since then?”

Of course, she said.

Then you need another blessing!

There is a famous story of a holy monk who in this life was a wonderworker, as he lie dying, he was heard to say, “I have not yet begun to repent.” This is attitude that attracts God’s grace like a magnet.

  1. Repentance is our hope

The Kingdom is at hand, it is near, it is not far away. We must be ready for it at all times. It is not far into the future, today is the day of salvation.

Our foundation of repentance and turning to Christ for salvation is a strong foundation. We must continue to build upon this foundation, repairing it, re-enforcing it, strengthening it.

This is what we come here to do. To restore, to rebuild, to re-enforce, to recommit our lives to Him and to be renewed by Him.

Do not think that because you have the outward appearances of a follower of Christ that you are ok. This will not save you. We must strive for authenticity.

Once I was shopping for a new Bible and as I talked with the shop owner (this was before the internet) I asked why the great difference in price between different Bibles.

Well, some were paper, some were bonded leather, some we genuine leather. The price was for authentic leather. The real deal. It lasts a lot longer. It doesn’t fall apart with use or wear out.

If you want to withstand the battle of life, build a good foundation of repentance. Strive to be like Christ, the Authentic Human Being.

You want to be the genuine Christian. You want to be Real. Put on repentance and humility and all the virtues will follow.

Lets be authentic Christians, and let us all truly repent from the heart.

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!

 

-Fr. Steven Lourie

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