Verse of the Day

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Second Sunday after Easter

The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
The whole AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!
Sermon - Rev Jack Arnold
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Rev Jack is back from Okinawa, Detachment One is inactive for a bit.

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

We are in the Easter Season which consists of Easter and the following four Sundays, until we get to Rogation Sunday.  This is a time we should work on centering our lives on the central figure in our religion, Jesus Christ. 

Consider these words from the Collect:

who hast given thine only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an ensample of godly life; Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that his inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life

God sent Jesus to be The Christ, The Messiah, The Savior, The Lamb to be sacrificed for our sin.  He gave His earthly Life, He went down into Hell, that we might be justified before God at our accounting.  Not that we might be perfect, but that we might be accounted perfect at our judgment day.  Yet we are not made perfect. We are fallen, miserable creatures in the pattern of Adam.  Thus we need an example to follow, a pattern for our lives.  God gave us that in His Son.  Jesus leads us towards God.  But, we have a hard time following Him.  Thus, God sent us the Holy Ghost to enter in to our hearts, to make our eyes see The Way, to let our ears hear the directions to The Path that will give us eternal salvation and everlasting life.

Peter notes that throughout His Life, our Lord gave nothing but good. He was not accepting of evil, but when He was ill treated, He gave not venom, but healing in return.  We are to act to the best our abilities like the example He set forth for us. IWe have to give not gifts of evilness but gifts of mercy and kindness. It will be hard and trying, but if we accept the Holy Ghost into our hearts, we can do these things. We will never be perfect, but that does not mean that we stop trying. We just reset our compass and follow the True North of Christ. This is a process that is often repeated through out our entire lives and indeed as it should be. Through His sacrifice, we are accounted as perfect, thus we need try our best to be perfect following His Example.  Will we fail?  That is certain.  Should we thus be inclined to just give in to evil?  NEVER.  To quote Winston Churchill, “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]

Jesus gave His Life for us because we are HIS.  He made it very clear that while He was sent to the Jews, God’s chosen people, His mission was not to them only. It was to all of the people that God made. Remember, God did not only create the Jews, but He made everybody! Therefore it makes sense that God would want to save all of us not just the Jews. To say otherwise would contradict our Lord! Jesus’ mission was to all of us miserable sinners, not just the Jewish people. Recall, He told them, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one flock, and one shepherd.”  He was there not only to bring them everlasting eternal life and salvation, but to others also. 

To US. 

We are of His Flock, we are not strangers to Him nor Him to us.  If God cared enough to send His Son to give His Life to protect us from certain death, do we care enough for Him to follow His Directions? It is the least we can do, after a painful death Our Lord endured that we might be free from the wages of sin. We must do our best to follow Him and He will be well pleased with us, if we actually do our best as opposed to saying that we are doing our best.  We cannot save ourselves any more than you can hold yourself up by grasping your own body.  But, if we truly are following the Lord, our actions will be congruent with His will.

We have One Leader.  He leads One Flock.  His Way may not always seem the easiest, but in the end it is for certain eternity.  It is the best way. He is the One Way, the One Truth and the source of all that is good. He came to earth to save our lost souls.  If we listen to the clear guidance of the Holy Ghost, to each of who are “as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls,” we will gain both happiness here on earth and eternal life. Anytime we sin or fall short, we simply reboot and start a new life with God yet again. It is a simple answer to our sins, repent and do our best to “Go forth and sin no more.”

But, there is more than  just saying you believe.  You must act on those beliefs to make them real.  Things are getting tough here on earth. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5.8)  And, I might add he holds sway in a lot of public offices.  Things are going to get worse.  You will need to act for God or for that lion.

When the time comes, how will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

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

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