Monday, June 4, 2012

The Holy Spirit + Truth = The Church

And Jesus said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20.22)

And Jesus said, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16.13)

More than two thousand years ago, “When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2.1-4)

My dear brothers and sisters this is the month of Pentecost so it seemed only appropriate that I offer some assurance as to the claims by the Church to possess the fullness of the Truth as revealed by God. On the first Christian Pentecost, after Jesus had returned to His Throne in Heaven on the Feast of Ascension, He sent the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort the Church. This was anticipated since on the Jewish Feast of Pentecost (prior to His Passion) Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture [Old Testament] has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7.37-38) The Gospel continues by stating, “But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7.39)

It is clear from the evidence of Scripture that Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within the Church and guide and comfort the Church. This historical reality should not be taken lightly. When we speak of the Apostles and the earliest Church Fathers (those we refer to as the Apostolic Fathers) we MUST (if we are to trust Scripture and Christ’s guarantee) believe that the Holy Apostles taught from by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and not their own opinions. We must have faith that they spoke the truth…the fullness of the truth.

And what did the Holy Apostles teach? (See The Teachings of the Holy Apostles to the Nations)

1.      We must believe in Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Word of God – fully God and fully Man

2.      We must be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

3.      We must receive Holy Communion (at least) every Sunday

4.      We must fast Wednesdays and Fridays

5.      We must live according to the Commandments to love God and our neighbor

6.      We must avoid sinful actions and confess our sins when we fail

7.      We must care for the poor

8.      We must avoid false teachers

9.      We must be obedient to our Bishops

10.  We must financially support the ministers and the work of the Church

Most importantly the Holy Apostles taught: “Watch for your life's sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord comes.” This is the Truth of Orthodox Christianity and our entire Orthodox lifestyle from the Holy Sacraments to daily spiritual disciplines reflects these ten points.

I invite you to join me in a journey toward God living the Orthodox Lifestyle…the rewards of living this journey are eternal.

1 comment:

Andrew Tatusko said...

Thank you Father. I was received yesterday and sealed with the Holy Spirit. Grateful to enter in the Church of Christ. I am writing more about my journey here and at some point will be looking for more Orthodox to contribute in order to offer a witness to Orthodoxy where there is none.