“The Word of God Received”
Preached at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1/27/02
The Rev’d Quintin Morrow, Rector

Let us pray: “Blessed Lord, who has caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God
for ever and ever. AMEN.”

21Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (James 1:21-25).

“I wonder,” said the vicar, Parson Jones
With a little troubled frown,
If there is any way to get
You folks seated farther down?

You see I have to talk across
So many empty pews,
Before my voice can reach the back,
I fear my point you lose.

And then I feel so lonesome,
Way up here—you clear back there,
Its hard to feel you’re with me
And that I’m preaching to thin air.

I wonder if you folks are scared
Of what I’m going to preach
That you hurry so to park your bums
In the furthest seat?

Or do you fear the church some day
Will suddenly catch afire?
Or do you want to slip out quick
If of my subject you do tire?

I wish you’d come up closer
So I wouldn’t have to shout—
If you don’t I’m going to have
Those back pews taken out!”

We are concluding our 3 part series of messages on the Word of God this morning. You will recall that in the first message we looked at the claims Holy Scripture makes for itself; namely, that it—the Bible—is God’s Word written. “All Scripture is God-breathed,” St. Paul says in II Tim. 3:16. In that message we also discovered that God’s Word is infallible—reliable and trustworthy in all that it teaches and proclaims. We discovered that Scripture is sufficient for salvation. “It is able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ,” Paul writes in II Tim. 3:15. And finally, we found that Holy Scripture is instructive—useful for doctrine, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
And last week, as you recall, we looked at God’s Word Proclaimed: The Primacy of Preaching. In that message we concluded that preaching is essential to the Christian faith. “How can they believe in the one of whom they have never heard?” Paul asks in Rom. 10:14. “And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Faith comes by hearing, the Apostle