In the Gospel, shortly before He ascended the Holy Cross, we hear how Christ promised the Holy Spirit would come and guide the Disciples “into all truth.” (John 16.13) As Christ ascended His Throne 40 days after His Resurrection, He urged the Church to wait for the Holy Spirit. For the past two thousand years, the Church has protected the truth of God, as revealed to the Holy Disciples by the Holy Spirit. You learn about God by reading the Holy Scriptures and hearing the witness of those who knew Him personally, but there is only one way to truly know God. We can only know God intimately through Holy Communion. If you want to know the true God, come and be in communion with Him.
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Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Be Transfigured, where we invite you to live a new life in Christ. We pray that this episode is a blessing to you and will inspire you to rededicate your life to Jesus Christ. We invite you to join us for worship or for study at the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Florida where visitors are always welcome. We'll be back in a few moments to share some more information about our ministry.
My brothers and sisters, a few days ago on the feast of Ascension, we heard Christ tell us to wait right where we were. They were on the mountain and they saw him going up into heaven. And he said, "Wait right there. Wait for the Holy Spirit to come." And he had told them before going up on the cross, he said that that the Holy Spirit would come and to guide you into all truth. And today we hear the words of Christ to his disciples. He's praying to God, he's praying to the Father, that the people may know God, the true God. Christ didn't come, my brothers and sisters, so we could know about him. He didn't come so we could read about him in a book. He didn't come so that we could hear about him from other people. He came so we could know him and know him intimately. And that is the difference between knowing about God and knowing God.
The Pharisees of the old testament knew a lot of things about God. They had it all memorized. But when he was face to face with them, they didn't recognize him. They knew about him but they didn't know him. Moses knew while facing the bush. Not quite face to face. And so my brothers and sisters, we have this blessed opportunity to know God in the real sense. But we cannot know him only through the holy scriptures and only through what people tell us but through holy communion. This is why God became one of us, to unite us to himself. When we were baptized and chrismated into the faith, we were ... I'm going to say this twice. We were forever united to God in a real physical way. Not just symbolically. In our baptism, we were actually united to the creator of the universe. And as we celebrated last week with the feast of Ascension, when he ascended his throne he took us with him. Because now we are united to him.
And that's what it means to know God. To commune with God. Many people in the world pretend to know about him. Let's get to know him personally in the chalice. Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, whose job it was in the fourth century, my brothers and sisters, to protect the truth of God. Before Christ went up on the cross, he promised the holy disciples, "The Holy Spirit is going to come upon you and guide you into all truth." He's guiding us into himself. He's guiding us into holy communion and he has been guiding the church now for more than 2,000 years in knowing God. And that is why if you remember when Father Sampson and I were teaching week after week about the ecumenical councils in adult catechism, over and over and over again, the church fathers were reminding us who God is. Because that is the truth that he offers us.
And so today as we are waiting for the Holy Spirit to come, Christ has ascended to his throne and ten days later the Holy Spirit came upon us. So next week, we will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the protector of the church, the comforter of the church, and the one who brought us the fullness of the truth. And that truth is what we have been maintaining for 2,000 plus years, my brothers and sisters. So we have to ask ourselves a simple question. In today's Christian world, there are more than 43,000 denominations of Christianity. 43,000 and that was as of 2015. So there's probably a few thousand more. They each have one thing in common. Every one of those 43,000 denominations teaches something different about God. If they didn't, they wouldn't be different. And today we are hearing that God has promised us to know him as the true God in holy communion. And today we are commemorating the fathers of the first council who protected that truth. And on and on and on down through the centuries, our church has protected the truth guided by the Holy Spirit.
My brothers and sisters, do not be led astray by what you hear in the world. The world will try to move us off track. How many times have you heard, "You don't really have to receive communion, father. You don't really have to come to church, father." These are tricks from the one who tricks everybody. The conniving one (the devil). Don't be misled by the other churches that tell us that we do not have to live the life that the holy apostles gave us. They are the ones who were protected by the Holy Spirit. Christ promised the truth. And that truth is in holy communion and in our willingness to be united to God. That is that great gift and that is why we sit here today waiting for the Holy Spirit to come, patiently.
And next week we're going to celebrate with the great Feast of Pentecost. Because he leads us to God and he leads us into holy communion, unity with the creator of the universe. That's a great gift. And that is the truth of God. Glory to God for all things.
Be Transfigured is a production of Be Transfigured Ministries in cooperation with the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Florida. We depend upon your generosity to maintain our ministry. You can make a safe online donation when you visit our website LiveANewLifeInChrist.org.