Archbishop Foley Beach:
I will call these the “Four Marks of Continuing a Spirit-filled Movement” or rather “Four Marks of Modern Anglicanism”
You see, we could go on playing Church and being religious and make no impact spiritually in our world. Yes, we could be married to our forms and traditions and remain a holy huddle in the midst of an ever-increasing secular society. This, however, would quench the Holy Spirit.
We are not and cannot be the Church as we have known it in the past. We must be a living Body engaged with the people around us. We must be the Temple of the Holy Spirit exhibiting the fruit and gifts of the Spirit in all we do. We must honor Jesus in all we do and all we say. We must have a culture that frees the Holy Spirit to do His Work in us and through us.
The First Mark of Modern Anglicanism is that we must be a Repenting Church.
After all, this is the message we have received in the Gospel. Remember the message of John the Baptist: Repent
Mt.3:2 – Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Remember the message of Jesus: Repent
Mt.4:17 – From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Remember the message of the Apostle Peter – at the end of his Pentecost sermon and the people were asking, “what must we do?”
Acts 2:38 – Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you and your children…
Remember the words of Apostle Paul when he was addressing the people of Athens in
Acts 17:22 – The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands people everywhere to repent.
He went on to write to the Romans…
Romans 2:4 – Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
We are called to be a repenting Church. That is, we must be a repenting people of God; a group of repenting followers of Jesus. When God shows us our sin, we must turn from it and return to the Lord.
Isn’t this what repent means? Literally, it means to change your mind.
St. John of Dasmacus: Repentance is returning from the unnatural to the natural state, from the devil to God, through discipline and effort.
I know…here in the south, people will say that is how you become a believer – and it is – we repent of our sins and follow Jesus.
Because of God’s love for us, Because of Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins. Because of his resurrection and the promise of eternal life, we change our minds (repent) about living for me, myself and I, and begin to live for Jesus. And this does lead to salvation.
But this repentance doesn’t stop when one is born again or comes into a relationship with God through Jesus;
It’s a day by day, moment by moment reality.
When a person comes to faith in Jesus, God does a wonderful and amazing thing – he places within the person the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit begins to teach you, guide you, reveal to you the ways of God, change your thinking, and he also begins to reveal to you your sin.
As God the Holy Spirit reveals to you your sin – usually through His Word, you then have a choice — continue in the sin, or change your mind (repent) and begin to believe the behavior or attitude is a sin – and turn from it! This is repentance. He is constantly showing me my sin –and unless I repent, I quench the Holy Spirit in my life and in my ministry. 1 Thess.5:19.
As God shows us our sin, we must turn from it and return to the Lord, or we quench the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives.
St. Paul of the Cross: Should we fall into a sin, let us humble ourselves sorrowfully in his presence, and then, with an act of unbounded confidence, let us throw ourselves into the ocean of his goodness, where every failing will be cancelled and anxiety turned into love.
We are called to be a repenting Church. I call on our bishops to repent. I call on our priests to repent. I call on our deacons to repent. I call on our vestry members to repent. I call on our musicians to repent. I call on all the laity to repent.
God loves you. God cares for you. It truly is his kindness which leads us to repentance. It’s for our good. It’s so he can shower us with His grace. This is part of what we confess as Anglicans.
Isn’t this what we pray each week when we pray the General Confession? If you pray the Daily Office, you pray it twice a day every day…
“We are truly sorry, and we humbly repent” or some version of this – depending on the liturgy.
As we confess our sins, we tell God that we are sorry, and that we humbly repent. Yet, do we? The question each of us must ask ourselves: “Is there something in my life which the Lord has shown me of which I must repent?”
As a Province and as believers, unless we repent of our sins, we quench the Holy Spirit in our amidst. If we are going to be the Church, the people of God, the Lord wants us to be, we must be a repenting Church.
The Second Mark of Modern Anglicanism is that we must be is a Reconciling Church.
When I speak of reconciliation, I am not talking about being reconciled with the world, or with sin, or with sinful behavior or giving up one’s principles or compromising Biblical Truth in order to be reconciled. However, the Scriptures do tell us that we are all ministers of reconciliation and that we are to be reconciled with each other.
This reconciliation is based on the cross of Jesus, on the Truth in the Scriptures, and on the Tradition handed down to us by the Church Fathers. To be reconciled means there was once a problem.
The Australia Anglican scholar, Leon Morris: “Reconciliation properly applies not to good relations in general but to the doing away of an enmity, the bridging over of a quarrel. It implies that the parties being reconciled were formerly hostile to one another.”
This was true with us, and The Lord. This is also true with too many of God’s people with each other. For real reconciliation to take place, you must remove the enmity – the source of the quarrel. We may apologize for our actions. We may pay back money we owe. We may return something which we borrowed.
We may make restitution for the damage we have done. In every situation there must be a dealing with the root cause of the enmity. In other words, there is no true reconciliation without repentance.