Verse of the Day

Sunday, November 28, 2021

First Sunday in Advent


Rev Jack's sermon is available on video RIGHT HERE!

Sermon  Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action

Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California

Todays sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together because, as is always the case, there is a unifying message in the Scripture for this Sunday. 

 

The First Sunday in Advent

The Collect.

 

A

LMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

 

¶ This Collect is to be repeated every day, after the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Day.

 

Today’s Collect, like almost all of them, starts out asking God’s Grace, His Help, His 

intervention to allow us to turn our backs on evil and our own desires that we might make His Desire our desire. This theme is constant through ought most of the collects for the simple reason that it is truth.  And it is the truth that without God’s intervention in our lives through the help of the Holy Ghost we are doomed to fail. If you will understand how short we fall in our “natural” desire, you will understand to cast off the works of darkness and don the armour of light, we must turn to Christ, who came to visit us, born in a simple and humble inn in Bethlehem.  As His manner of birth, we must be humble as well, not boastful and proud like the rich[1], but meek and lowly, to embrace light and cast off the works of darkness.  We have to let go of our pride in order to be humble and be able to cast off the works of darkness. Though He came in a rather humble manner, He shall return in a glorious and majestic manner, a rather stark contrast to His original incarnation, leaving no doubt who has come to lead us.   

 

The whole point of the Collect, Epistle and Gospel is that we must embrace light and reject the darkness. We do this by allowing the Holy Ghost into our hearts, to shine the light in our hearts and expel the darkness. It is like the light Galadriel gave Frodo in Lord of the Rings, a light to shine in the darkest of times and places and will cleanse our hearts of the inner darkness and will send the darkness scattering like insects. Only with the help of the Holy Spirit can we cleanse ourselves of that inner darkness and allow pure light to come in and drive it out. We cannot do it ourselves, but we need His Help and Guidance in order to do so.

 

This brings us straight to the Epistle. Paul tells us we need to live the life we aspire to.  He wastes little time on the don’ts which the Jews were famous for getting around, but goes right to the dos; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. By going through the dos, Paul is saying we need to let in the light and allow the Holy Spirit to expel the darkness. We cannot hope to accomplish any of the dos if we do not have the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Following God requires us to reject the dark and cling to the light. 

 

Paul cautions us to not borrow for what we do not need that we might owe others nothing but our love.  To know the difference between want and need.  This sound advice is sorely needed in this country these days.  If we do, we are ensuring that we will not have a worldly obligation to any who might hold that over us to influence our path away from that Christ set out for us. We ideally owe no man anything but that of our love.  Paul asks us to love our neighbors, by love he means to take care for them as we would for ourselves or our own close relations.  Not necessarily to “give” them money, but to help them to attain self-sufficiency that they might prosper both in soul and body. 

 

This takes us right into the key theme of the Gospel.  We must not be for God in speech only, but in deed.  The Collect and Epistle and Gospel’s key theme is action. Acting to remain in the light rather than the darkness is the overall message. When Jesus came into this world, He came knowing the true purpose of His coming, He came knowing how He would leave, He came knowing the cost at which our souls would be accounted as perfect. He knew what He had to do to save our souls for eternity.  His whole ministry, including his death and resurrection, can be best summed up in one word; action. He consistently backed up His Message with actions and not just diction. This is a pattern for us to follow as believers; we are called not just to say good words, but back those good words up with actions. Jesus expects us to not just say we believe Him, but to actually believe Him and the best way to accomplish that is through our actions.

 

Contrast this to those who are like the Pharisees, who have not kept the Word of God in their hearts, though they may shallowly profess it with their lips. It is action, not diction, that counts! It is easy to profess it with your lips, it is harder to put your words into practice. That will show the world where your heart truly lies.

 

We must not be like them.  We must put on the great Armour of Light and so reject our former lives of sin and vanity. We must switch from our old selfish lives to a new unselfish, Christ filled life.  It is something we always struggle with, but God never gives up on us. We can be comforted by the assurance He will never give up on us. We just have to never give up on Him and do our very best to follow what He says. As long as we repent from our sin and turn back to God in our private prayers and devotions, he will wipe our slate clean. I know I have a hard time keeping on the straight and narrow path, so I am glad He left the Scriptures to guide us.

 

Through following His Word and Instructions, we shall be given a greater reward than anything existent on the Earth; past, present or future, that gift of immortal life, life for all eternity, that will outlast this physical world. We have to utilize our full complement of weaponry with the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit as our main weapons to which we fight this battle for souls. We must never never ever give up but keep going. Even when it seems hard, we must press on for all will be worth it in the end.

 

Make no mistake, we are engaged in a World War with the Prince of Air, the Prince of This World, for the souls of men, starting with our own, a World War which has been going on since the beginning of time. But we know the ending is in our favor for certain, for the Book of Revelation tells us so.

 

As individuals we may not experience victory here on earth. We may struggle with problems in this world and our own, our whole lifespan on this planet. We may not see and savor that victory here on earth; but we know in the end He will be victorious as we know the Savior.  We will win, for we are on His Side.

 

Cast off the dull worn robes of darkness, which lack luster, give no warmth, protect not from heat or cold and put on the shining glorious armour of light.  So kitted up, we walk in light, not in darkness where we may stumble and fall.   Unlike moths, for us light is life, not the destruction of darkness.

 

Come, put on the Armor of Light and go forth to destroy that last enemy, death!

 

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

 

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

 

It is by our actions we are known.

 

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God



[1] It is not that worldly wealth is, in and of itself, bad, but rather the attitude it can bring, one of self-worth beyond that which is correct.  Wealth often brings to us a “better than thou” attitude, which soon turns to “Holier than thou.”  The kind of thing that was referred to when Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”  Mark 10.25

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Sunday Next before Advent

  

Rev Jack's sermon is available on video RIGHT HERE!


Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action

Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California

Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together because as is always the case there is a unifying message in the Scripture for this Sunday. 

 

The Sunday next before Advent

The Collect.

S

TIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 

As is oft the case, today’s propers are all tied together.  As is usual, they call for action not just thoughts.  In fact, the collect is among the most direct, asking God to stir our hearts that we 

might ACT in a manner which will result in good things! The collect is asking for God to inspire us to ACT to produce those good works that will please Him. It is asking for God to assist us in our actions here on Earth to produce good fruits. 

 

Jeremiah prophesies the coming of Jesus out of the branch of David that He might unite God’s people as one under a New Covenant.  Christ is the key piece to the puzzle of the Old Testament prophecies. He is the answer to all of the prophecies the Old Testament contains about our savior. John tells us Jesus comes to fill both our spiritual and physical hunger. Our spiritual hunger in that by His Coming, we will have the Word as our spiritual bread and drink. And our physical hunger by the fact if we follow what He says and do our best, we should have no problems getting food to eat. The collect is calling us to action, to perform good works to advance the cause of the Gospel. 

 

The collect is asking us to allow God into our hearts so that we can go forth and do good works that the Good News might be spread. It is asking God to stir up our wills that we might go forth and do good works for Him and effect positive change for us and members of our community on Earth If we do that, the collect assures us that we will be rewarded very well. First we have to let Him int our hearts in order for Him to stir up our wil and incline us to perform the good works.m. Then through these actions we will truly get our just reward. Our wills are naturally inclined towards not following Him; we need to have our wills reset towards following Him. 

 

We have to throw off our old man, to quote Saint Paul and to put on the new armor and helmet of the new man. We have to shed our old like a lizard sheds his skin and grow the new armor and helmet. Then We have to let the Holy Ghost into us and cleanse us of our old sinful selves.  For without the Holy Ghost’s influence, we cannot truly be able to willing follow Him and act for Him on our own intuition. For our natural intuition is corrupt, by the disease of sin eating away at our very souls. Only the great doctor, God himself, can cure us of this otherwise incurable disease.

 

Nothing else in this world will satisfy us like God and the Word of God can. He is the answer to the missing hole in so many people’s hearts and lives.  There is so much evidence of this missing hole in people’s lives today. Our broken society is a reflection of the missing gigantic God shaped hole. Yet nobody wishes to acknowledge or recognize this hole. The church sadly has been complicit in this by allowing the devil to enter into the church. No house divided against itself shall stand and sadly that is what is happening with the modern church.  We have found that no art or work of mammon can come even close to the pure satisfaction following God provides. Yet because so many people have been blinded by Satan, they won’t see this. This is the only possible way we can truly be satisfied, everything else is a shadow of true happiness and satisfaction. God is the only way in which we can truly be happy, for everything else is worthless to our wellbeing, except for the joy of following Him.

 

If we follow our own heart and guidance, we will seek the things of this world and will be hopelessly lost. But if we follow God’s guidance then we will not be lost but will be on course and on path towards heaven. If we stumble off from time to time, we just have to recover and get back on the path towards heaven with the help of God and the Holy Ghost. 

 

Events happening in this country today show that we are not truly capable of satisfying ourselves, only Jesus and the Holy Spirit can fill the hole. We cannot replace God with man as some liberal minded folk in this country are so apt to think. This is why we truly need the Holy Ghost acting in our hearts and cleansing us of these impure thoughts. 

 

As we are nearing the beginning of Advent, let us think ahead to the joy of Christmas, the birth of Christ, His entry into this world, the joy of Epiphany, His revealing to the world.  Then look ahead at the horror, pain and sadness of Good Friday.  This lets us see the joy of eternal life He gave us, came at a very heavy price. Jesus gave His Own Life so we might have eternal happiness and not only that but he had to go down into hell and do battle with the devil. 

 

The World is constantly changing things to suit its sinful desires.  However, those of us who follow God do not change from the truth. This is why we will never be fully satisfied with things of this world, but we will be satisfied with what God provides for us.

 

He asks of us nothing special; but just to do our very best, not just say it. It is something I am striving to work on more and more every day. We must keep learning and following His Word. It is a hard concept for many of us to follow, including myself, but we must all strive more and more every day to do our very best. If we study Scriptures diligently and work hard to follow them to the best of our abilities, then we will, with the Holy Spirit’s help, be charted on an excellent course. 

 

Interestingly, He tells the disciples to “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.”  It seems He is talking about the sheep that He tends to, He wishes to “gather up the fragments that remain”, meaning the people apart from His flock, that “nothing be lost”, meaning that their souls may not be lost for eternity. Think about that and take what it is offered before it is no longer on the menu! And be thankful for All His Blessings in our lives, for our friends and our family that He has placed in our lives.   

 

We are blessed and should be grateful we are in a spiritually rich group (The Anglican Orthodox Church) and in communion with some very good men and women across the Earth in the AOC Worldwide Church, who hold true to the principles of Scripture. God has blessed us all by bringing us together. I am thankful for each and every person in the AOC Church and my family and friends.  At Thanksgiving, we should be thankful most of all for God sending His Son to die for us, that we might have eternal life and happiness instead of the eternal misery that comes from the separation from God.

 

Actions speak louder than words, when we actually use that inspiration of the Holy Ghost and a couple well thought out words with actions, we can do many marvelous things in the lives of people around us, through His Spirit and Word and we will help to fill people’s spiritual hunger, through acting through His Word, in thought, word and deed.

 

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

 

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

 

It is by our actions we are known.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity

 


Rev Jack's sermon is available on video RIGHT HERE.

Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 

The Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

 

 

O

 LORD, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.


The Collect asks God to pardon our offences, that is our wrongs, failures and failures to act as we should, where we have “erred and stray from His Way like lost sheep”, through His great mercy.   Note, through the mercy of God, not because we have been good, but because we cannot be good without Him in the form of the Holy Ghost.  We are utterly incapable of goodness without the help of the Holy Ghost. We are sinful, prideful beings without His Help. But with His Help there is no end to the good that we can become. We have to recognize this and then consciously ask for the Holy Ghost to enter into our hearts and transform our hearts souls and minds. Without this transformation we are utterly lost. But with it, we become Paul’s New Man 2.0, an epic upgrade from our first revision. 

 In this world we will find that as far as sins go, truly there is nothing new. All the sins that will exist are present in this world and we aren’t making any new ones. The human heart is always as dark and depraved without the shining light of the Holy Spirit as it ever has been. This is why the world is full of the same problems as it always has. Humans are naturally resistant to any form of change, especially spiritual change. It has been this way since the time of Adam. People are always seeking ways to get around God and His Laws, but they truly cannot. Our only hope is to be in Him and be reborn in the Spirit. As Abraham Lincoln said in the famous Gettysburg address “That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.”  Only under God, can we be reborn a new, and as he said, our freedom will be reborn again.  We can only be reborn in the spirit and not the flesh as Nicodemus found out when he came to Jesus by night. In order to be reborn a new in the spirit, we first have to ask for our sins to be pardoned and be delivered from our sins by Jesus Christ Our Lord and Our Heavenly Father.  The key word is ask. This will never happen for us if we do not take the first step and ask God to enter into our hearts and regenerate our spirit. He will not come in uninvited into to our hearts. We have to allow the Holy Spirit access in order for our spirits to be revitalized.

And once we ask for our sins to be pardoned, we have to go forth and persevere in our efforts not to sin again. Only then can we be truly re-born. Through a sense of godliness, we obtain that “new birth” of freedom. If everybody in this country followed that simple advice, just think of how great our country would be. Look at Abraham Lincoln for an example of a Godly man, one of the greatest Presidents ever elected, who by following God and His Word, helped preserve the Union of this wonderful nation, albeit at a great cost to our freedom and with a huge expansion of government.[1]

In the Epistle, Paul tells the Colossians if we are to be reborn through Christ into a “new birth of freedom”, as Lincoln said, we must place our hope not on Earth, but in Our Heavenly Father and his abode above. It is truly a place where nothing will be corrupted and thieves will not break through and steal. It is very safe to place our hopes in heaven in other words. So we must train our hearts, souls and minds to focus on this.

We shall encounter none of the imperfections we see here on Earth daily. It is truly a wonderful place to be. We must keep our sights on our destination of heaven. We have to always keep this in mind every time we are weighed down by the woes of the world and of troubles in our lives. We have to always keep flying our spiritual airplane no matter what happens in this life. If we put our goal as going to heaven and setting our airplane on the magenta line towards heaven, eventually we will get there. We may encounter severe turbulence from events in our lives that threaten to upset our spiritual state, but as long as we keep flying the spiritual airplane, all will be well in the end. Heaven is truly the only place where we can place any hope and not be disappointed. God will never fail us; we just need to not fail Him. We have to do our best to follow Him here on earth and do our best to spread to Word to the people around us. If we do this, the truth shall shine forth through in our work, at home, in our daily lives and people shall see Christ working through us for His purposes. If we follow what God asks, which is a very common theme in the Bible, as it is in my sermons, we prosper and do well.

Which brings us to the point of the Gospel, in which Christ heals a woman who has such supreme faith in Christ healing her, that if she but touches his cloak, she knows she will be healed. She did not have any doubts about Christ’s power to heal her. She truly had a solid faith.  She depended not on the talisman of the cloak, but the power of Christ with which she expected to connect. She knew Christ had the power to heal her and believed He would heal her. Christ was impressed by the woman’s faith.  If we had the faith of this woman in Christ, imagine how we could impact the world around us. There would be little we could not do for our fellow men and women.  And, I might ask, what is stopping us?  The ruler whose daughter had died also shared this amazing faith in Christ.  He had zero doubt whatsoever Christ would do these things. 

Also, the faithful centurion and the man whose son was sick had this tremendous faith. The faith of all of these, in particular the ruler whose daughter died was truly strong. Christ recognizes this man’s faith and rewards with the girl’s resurrection.  Quite a surprise for those who had just laughed and scorned him, basically telling him “That is impossible, you can’t raise the girl from the dead.”

As always, Jesus proved the naysayers wrong..  He gave a very practical demonstration that much is denied men, but though God all things are possible.  But, we need the faith of the woman, the faith of the ruler and the faith of the centurion.  Jesus showed us that if we do indeed have the great faith of those people, there is not a lot that we cannot do. He is showing us that faith is a key corner stone to following Him. We must follow Him and the plan He laid out for us. We have to be willing to listen and be ready to follow Him.  In time, we shall too have an amazing reward, through our faith and we shall be in a “new birth of freedom” from otherwise certain death. We can do things thought impossible, if we put our trust in Him, as I have aforementioned.  

This is what Jesus meant when he said we could move mountains with our faith. If we put our trust and faith in Him, nothing that we need to do is impossible for us to achieve. We must keep listening to His Guidance and to do our best to follow Him. However, we must back up our faith with actions. If we truly have faith, then we will act and perform good works for Him. Without actions, our faith is meaningless.

Jesus’s miracles were all about actions, not just in word, but in deed. He did both, as we must also. If we only talk the talk, but do not walk our talk, then our words mean nothing.  If we walk the walk also, our words have weight, meaning, as we become men and women of the Word. I say of the Word and not like the old saying, he is a man of his word. For we want to become a Man/Woman of His Word, not our word! If we go by His Word, we can never go wrong. We always seem to go on our word and that is where we get into trouble. It is action not just diction which counts. The two can go together, but in the end, actions speak louder than words. 

Following this theme of words and action as Thursday was Veteran’s Day, I realized God has used godly men for our freedom to be kept, by laying down their lives for ours. No greater love could be found in the world, then those men who died in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, the Pacific and the European theatres of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, Desert 1 and 2, Afghanistan and countless dirty little wars where the freedom of our country and those of others was threatened. These men lived out their lives for their country in the form of actions. No greater love exists than the man who lays down his life for his friends, which so many of our fallen veterans have and in doing so have followed Christ’s actions in an exemplary manner. They showed us they not only talked the talk about serving but they walked the walk as well.

Through a sense of godliness, these men went to battle on our behalf, as Christ battled Satan on our behalf.  These men did not just go into battle with the godliness, they prayed hard for them, they prayed for each minute just to stay alive, especially in the hellholes of the Pacific and the European theaters.  The danger they faced were far more perilous than the ones we face today.  We overcame the enemy, not only because of our superior tactics, but we had men ready and willing to take the enemy on and do our best to prevail, and who followed God.

The Collect, Epistle and Gospel tie together, laying out, detailing and reinforcing the same message, ultimately.  We have to have faith in Christ and God, and be willing to accept the Holy Ghost into us, that through Him, we may do good works on Earth and that we will receive our just reward for doing what is right in the end.

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known. 

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God


 

[1] The American Civil War was fought not over slavery, but over States Rights.  Make no mistake, the right being disputed at the time was slavery.  Many will say the wrong side won, including the noted thinker Thomas Sowell.  Slavery was an institution whose time was long passed, it did not serve anyone, master or slave.  It was counter to the Word and should never have existed here.  Truly it was an instrument of the Devil and was used to harm our country.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity



Rev Jack's Sermon can be viewed on video RIGHT HERE.

 
Sermon - Rev Jack Arnold

Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California

Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 

 

The Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

 

 

O

 GODour refuge and strength, who art the author of all godliness; Be ready we beseech thee to hear the devout prayers of the Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

Consider these words from the Collect:  … hear the devout prayers of the Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain …

 

 

The Collect once again asks God to hear our prayers.  The Church is the body of believers, not a building, not a semi-political group. And the Collect specifies the devout prayers; that is prayers for those ideas, actions and the like that follow God’s Plan for His People.  It goes on to ask that He would grant those things we ask for faithfully, that is in accordance with His Will or Plan.

 

He is always there, always ready, to hear our sincere prayers: He may answer those things which are good for the Church and the world for which we ask and from His Grace we may receive those things which are good for us.  The part that is left unspoken is that once we receive His Advice through the Holy Spirit we have to be willing to take action. We can pray all the day long but if we don’t listen to Him and then act upon what He says, those prayers will ultimately be for naught. Action and diction together shows our beliefs and where our hearts truly lie. Diction without action is not much of a belief at all.

 

In the Epistle, Paul tells us, as well as the Philippians, to follow God and not be dependent on man, as so many in this country are now. The problem is many, who claim they are followers of Christ, don’t walk the walk, they are selfish and only think of themselves. There are too many people around the world who think and act in this manner.  They have no desire to help others, and in fact have a desire to tear others down rather than lend them a helping hand. This is not in congruence with Christ’s teachings and the Summary of the Law. He warns them will lead them onto a path of doom and destruction. We can see that being played out in our country now with an uprising of violent behavior and tendencies and the general degeneracy in the population.

 

This is clear proof to me that we cannot succeed in a positive manner without God’s help and influence in our lives. If more people would realize this, our country would be in a far better state than it is now. Let us pray that people would wake up and realize this.

 

Whereas if people would love their neighbor as themselves, it would lead them on a path to prosperity and eternal life. In times of trial and tribulation, we are not to worry, but rather lean on Our Lord. It may be difficult but it can be done through the help of the Holy Spirit. We must realize our true and final citizenship is in heaven, for which we look to Our Saviour. If we are on the side of righteousness, of the Lord, of godliness, then who are we to fear?

 

Nobody; save a respectful fear of Our God. 

 

We will not bow before the forces of darkness; but rather stand tall, equipped with the armor of light, the shield of truth, and the helmet of faith. We will give those in authority the respect they are due but we will not be dependent upon them for our every need and whim. This is why those who seek to create a larger government are working on supplanting God’s authority over us. For if God is the authority, as He is; man has no power to determine what is right and what is wrong. Man is not responsible for his own power. This is why those who are seeking to enlarge their power over the people in this country must first destroy the Church. The good news is that Paul says in the end, these people’s efforts will be in vain and they will be destroyed, as much as they are attempting to destroy us here on Earth. We can be cheered up in these depressing times, knowing we are on the winning side for eternity. We are to turn to God; if we are to be dependent on anything, it must be God upon whom we are dependent, and not Man. Being dependent on man only leads to eternal death for us, but being dependent on God leads to eternal life for us. 

 

Which brings us to the point of the Gospel, in which Christ tells the Pharisees of how they are to deal with the problem of tribute to Caesar. They have no love for the Roman Government, as we have very little love for the swamp dwellers in our own Government. However, Christ reminds them to separate their hatred of the government, and do the right thing. As we must give God His due (our worship and prayer), we must give the government their due (taxes, etc.), but this does not mean we treat the government as demi-gods, to put it one way, as politicians often think of themselves.  The government has to earn our respect, not the other way around, which too often it and the members in it forget this simple fact.

 

We have to realize that God has granted the government their authority to govern, but not to supplant Him. God cannot be replaced by man. His authority is where the government gets their authority, and will always be; whether they choose to recognize that or not, is up to them. That is what we pray for when we pray for the President, that he would recognize God’s authority and align his leadership with that of God’s will. The statists in this country believe the false lie that man can govern man without assistance from God or God’s authority. Governments which do not recognize this fact are in the end, doomed to fail. The history books are filled with pages of failed governments, all failed because they refused to recognize God’s rightful place as the source of their legal authority.

 

Jesus’ point is that we give them what they are owed, no more and no less.  The Pharisees were trying to trick Christ to say that you must honor one or the other, when you can do both.  We should be serving God and not man; that does not mean that we do not have to pay our dues to the government that rules us. It is only through God’s grace that he allows government to rule over man. The government we have was established with the recognition it serves at His pleasure. Its Declaration of Independence establishes people have rights endued them by their Creator, not the government. It is with the authority of the people the government serves. It must exist to serve the people and God. It is not to be a self-licking ice cream cone. Jesus told us to feed the poor people, not create laws that take money from other people ostensibly for that purpose, of which he commanded us to do.

 

The Collect, Epistle and Gospel tie together, laying out, detailing and reinforcing the same message, ultimately.  We have to respect the authorities that govern us, no matter how we disagree or dislike them, and conduct ourselves like Christians. However, that does not mean that we replace the rule of God with the rule of Man. Man’s laws should merely be a restatement of God’s laws, not to replace God’s laws.

 

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

 

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

 

It is by our actions we are known.

 

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity


Rev Jack's sermon can be seen on video RIGHT HERE!

 

Sermon - Rev Jack Arnold

Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California

Todays sermon tied the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and talked, as is oft the case, of the need for action, not simply diction and are all tied together.  Todays propers really put to lie the concept of the hermit Christian.  When we talk about them, look how the Collect talks about the Household of God, what Bishop Cranmer styles as the Church, and how Paul speaks of the benefits of fellowship and joint prayer.  If that were not enough, see how Jesus reminds us of the need for forgiveness and patience, things you only need if you interface with others.

 


Consider these words from the Collect:

 

… keep thy household the Church in continual godliness; that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in good works, to the glory of thy Name …

 

In the Collect we ask the Lord to keep His household, (that would be the Church or us) in continual godliness (that is to keep Him as our leader and follow Him and the principles of Scripture), so that with His Help we can have as smooth a path as practical and serve Him in happiness. It also says through His protection we might be free from all adversities and to do good works for Him. By being free of adversities, it means in times of adversity God might give us the guidance needed to soar through these adversities and do good for Him.

 

This is only possible if we listen to the Scriptures and apply them with the help of the Holy Ghost.  Without the help of the Holy Ghost, we cannot have His Protection and will not be able to keep on the straight and narrow uphill path towards heaven.

 

Saint Paul follows this same thought in his Epistle when he thanks the Philippians for their fellowship and talks about how their bond through Christ have strengthened his faith as a result which enabled him to continue doing good works for the Lord. He expresses his wishes for the Philippians to do the same and to keep growing in heart, soul and spirit, with their judgement and knowledge increasing as they allow the Holy Ghost in their hearts more and more.

 

Paul also wishes the Phillipians would approve of godly things and their holiness would increase as they walk more and more with God. He is basically wishing for them to continually grow in wisdom through reading of the Holy Scriptures and then applying them in their day to day actions. It ties in nicely with the collect asking for God to keep the Church in continual godliness. Our Lord accomplishes this by having our bonds strong in the church, He keeps us in that continual godliness. The more we love the Lord, the more it will show through in our actions and our judgment.  So, let us keep loving the Lord, so our actions and judgment will align His!

 

Which brings us to the point of the Gospel, in which Christ tells Peter about forgiveness and how we must be ever patient with our fellow humans, and if they are repentant, grant them that forgiveness, no matter how many times they might err and vex us.  It doesn’t matter if we want to or not, if they are truly repentant then we must forgive them, regardless of how we want to do otherwise. This is important as if we hold the evil of non-forgiveness in our hearts, it is to our own detriment.  We would not be following the words of the collect of staying in godliness if we were to not forgive. For as God forgives, so must we forgive those who are truly sorry. 

 

Holding non-forgiveness in our hearts is as bad for us as holding a grudge against an individual. It acts as like cancer to our soul, eating away out our soul turning it from bright white to a dark black. We must not allow this to occur and if somebody is truly sorry for their misdeeds, we must forgive them. Else we will not only hurt them by not forgiving them but we will also hurt ourselves. It is best for both parties involved if we can forgive them.

 

We can only forgive those sins against us, for those that are against God, only God can forgive. Remember, we can forgive them for personal trespasses against us, but through God’s power, only He can grant absolution of our sins, not us.  Nowhere in Scripture does Christ tell Peter humans have the power to forgive sins, as the Roman Catholics claim they have, but rather God must forgive sins, but we can tell others God has forgiven them. 


The parable illustrates what happens to those who are forgiven, but yet turn around and do not forgive their neighbor (in this case, a debtee) for their sins and have thus abused their forgiveness from Our Lord. If we follow this person’s path, we will find ourselves in a poor spot in eternal life; not only the eternal life, but our temporary life here on earth would be made more miserable by our abusing of the forgiveness. Let us not be like that fellow, but let us forgive our neighbor, if he is truly sorry and willing to repent and re-start the friendship, and turning a new leaf so to speak. 


If God has been so good to forgive us, why should we not inform others God can and will forgive them of any sins against Him or us for that matter? It would be truly selfish not to do so and to go against what He has commanded us to do, in spreading the Word to all nations. This is why the Gospel is called the Good News, because God has forgiven us for our sins and sent His Son to die for us, that we might have eternal life instead of eternal damnation. This is the ultimate forgiveness, accounting us as perfect, when we are anything but.  

 

Today’s propers speak of the power of Our Lord in forgiveness and how we must remember our bond with our fellow Christians in Christ, especially in times of great sorrow or trouble and use that to strengthen us in our day to day lives. We must always remember there are others in our heavenly family who are struggling along with us. With the help of the Holy Ghost and our bond with Christ, we shall not fail.


The Collect’s prayer, Epistle and Gospel tie together, laying out, detailing and reinforcing the same message, ultimately.  We have to be willing to forgive others, tell them about God’s forgiveness, and not turn around and commit the grave error of not forgiving others as God has forgiven us for our sins. We have to act more like God each day, though we are not and never will be perfect. If we try our utmost best, that is all we can do.


Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.


The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?


It is by our actions we are known.


Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity

   

Rev Jack's sermon is available on video RIGHT HERE.

 

Sermon - Rev Jack Arnold

Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California

Todays sermon tied the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and talked, as is oft the case, of the need for action, not simply diction.

 


Consider these words from the Collect:

 

… Grant … thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind …

 

We ask God to pardon our sins so we might serve Him with peace of mind and do His Work without having to worry about our fate.  It is good to have a clear mind when you go into battle, to be free of worry that you might do your best. You do not want a foggy mind while performing an action that requires your best concentration, so that is what we are asking from Him. To give us clarity of mind that we might do what is right. 

 

We need His pardon and peace to cleanse us from our sins, to enable us to have a mind that is quiet and focused on doing His will. It is a difficult thing to quiet our minds at times, but it must be done, so we can focus on doing our best from Him. His pardon and peace will help us clear our minds from worrying thoughts and distressed thoughts, if we will but let Him in. His pardon and peace is a perfect pardon and peace, He only asks that we go forth in the world and spread His Word, which will give the perfect pardon and peace to all that accept it.

 

When we mention peace, it is a very different concept from what people in this world think of it.  The peace God gives us is the calmness and stability in our soul when the world is crumbling around or even on us. It is the surety that no matter what happens this life, as long as we do what God asks, our souls will be safe in the next life. This will give us a calm of mind that the world is incapable of giving as they do not know the peace of God and the Holy Spirit.

 

It is that peace of mind and soul that comes from knowing when we die, we will be with God and Jesus and enjoying eternity with them. It helps us to know this is only a transitory phase. This is only temporary way point on our way to heaven.  And if we let it, this peace will take the place of worry.  This is something those of us who tend to worry need to remember. You can then concentrate on what you can do and not be concerned with what you cannot do; for if you cannot really do it, it is pointless to concern yourself.  That is the whole point of peace, having it will give you calmness and rational thinking to do what you need to do for Him. The peace gives you the confidence to perform actions, even in difficult and very trying circumstances. Once again, action, not diction, is paramount.

 

Not everyone will accept it though, even though all should accept the offered gift, it does not mean they will.  And those that do accept may not accept right away. It may take time for the seed of the Holy Ghost to germinate and bear fruit in the hearts of some of the more worldly people. As our fallen nature attests, we are not instantly transformed into a different person overnight, but rather thorough many days, weeks and years of practicing Christian beliefs, through reading Scripture and being around other believers. The transformation happens in a gradual process, that continues all of our lives. With some of the non-believers we encounter in our live this might occur, the seed we plant may germinate in time to bring them to Christ.

 

Paul gives his clearest definition of the spiritual war between the forces of Satan and those who would follow God. It not only assures us that there is a spiritual war, but it warns us that apart from utilizing the weapons which God has provided for us, we are hopelessly underpowered. This passage tells us what our divine weapons are. Beyond this, these weapons imply the nature of the struggle which we are in. The weapons God provides are those weapons which best repel the attacks of Satan and if we know how to best utilize them, we will be well ahead of the game in fighting the tricks of Satan.

 

Now, what to do? We are clearly commanded to take an offensive role, to go where the battle is. We are not called to be at the rear, but on the front lines, in this spiritual battle.  With the help of the Holy Ghost, we should be using our tongues boldly as St. Paul says, to spread the Gospel. In order to accomplish this we must boldly preach the truth of the Gospel through ought the world and not worry ourselves with what the world will think. For what the world will think is not as important as what God thinks. And by the word bold, we are not to put a holier than thou air and talk down, nor are we to cruelly shout down the opposition, but with confidence in our voice, we will not allow ourselves to be intimidated by the enemy. We will do our actions and say the truth with clarity and confidence. That is what it means to preach the Word boldly.

 

The Word spreads “by word of mouth” and by action.  It does not spread by mouth alone! There needs to be work backing up those good words. Your mouth, your actions!

 

Speaking of actions, Winston Churchill said, “Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”[1]

 

Churchill was not the first. God wants us to persist.  Consider the case of the nobleman of Capernaum.  The man asked Jesus for help for his son.  Jesus did not immediately grant the request as He needed the man to persist to make a point for those around him.  He responded as he often did to Jews, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.  The man persisted and because Jesus saw faith in him, he said, focusing his attention on faith in God, Go thy way; thy son liveth or "Be on your way. Your son is alive." In other words: "Do not worry.  My Word will heal your son no matter the distance." The boy was healed in the very instant when Jesus spoke the Word. The father believed this Word.  So did his household, wife, children and servants. More than one person was healed on that occasion.

 

This miracle shares characteristics with the previous healing of the Centurion’s son:

 

  • Jesus has just come back to Galilee.
  • Someone comes to him with a request.
  • Indirectly Jesus seems to refuse at first.
  • The person persists.
  • Jesus grants the request.
  • This leads another group of people (his disciples, the nobleman’s household) to believe in him.

 

Note the necessity of trusting in Jesus as the giver of life.  Jesus led this nobleman from a "miracle" faith to a true faith in His Word. He does this to us also, but only if we will let Him into our hearts and guide us there. 

 

"Be on your way. Your son lives." This Word of Jesus was not only a prophecy. It had the power to heal the sick boy. And this Word took the nobleman's worries away. As it will take ours away if we will let it. 

 

As we see in the Gospel, persistence is a very important part of the Christian life, it helps build our character in bad times, and also in good as well. Persistence is what fuels us in our day to day physical and spiritual lives. The more we open ourselves up to Him, the more persistent we will become as we embody more and more of His characteristics. Persistence will help us greatly in our character development and will help strengthen us spiritually.

 

Consider also that God, through our Lord, offers forgiveness.  Forgiveness lets you restart your life, regain your foothold, strengthen your soul.  If you accept the forgiveness and go forward you can do great things. If you will not, and likewise you will not forgive, you will be bound by the prince of this world and doomed to failure.  You will never attain the greatness of which you are capable with God’s grace and help.

 

Do what is right, I would say no matter if there is no one looking; but He is always looking.  It is not that hard.  Believe, take His help, act on the belief you profess, never ever give up.  

 

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

 

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

 

The time to act is NOW.  Will you act?  For whom will you act?  Will you count the cost before you act?

 

Action, not diction, is what counts.  It is by your actions you are known.

 

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God



[1] Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School