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Church of the Faithful Centurion -
Today’s sermon tied the Collect, Epistle and Gospel
together and talked, as is oft the case, of the need for action, not simply
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 that we might serve Him
with peace of mind. That we might
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 to have a foggy
mind when you are doing 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
that we can focus on doing our best from Him. The pardon and peace He gives 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.
Not everyone will accept it though, even though all
should accept it, does not meant hat they will. We have to realize this, and
some may not accept it at first, but it does not mean that we should give up on
them, but rather let the Holy Spirit plant the seed, as He plants a seed in our
hearts. 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.
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 which God has provided for us are those weapons which best repel
the attacks of Satan, and thus we can learn a great deal about the nature of
Satan’s opposition from simply considering each of the weapons at our disposal:
this our cloak, as well as our cover;
Breastplate or Armored Vest Righteousness; being at one with the One True
and Triune God;
Gospel; the Word of God will get you there;
able to not only ward off blows of evil, but quench the fiery darts hurled at
we are saved already, thus we cannot be harmed by any of the forces of this
world, the armored helmet of the gift of salvation given to us by our Lord will
protect us in the end, the only time that counts;
to now, the equipment has been defensive or at least supporting; but to win a
war, you need to be on the offense, our offensive weapon is the sword of the
Holy Ghost, the Word of God!
Now, what to do?
Clearly we are commanded to take the
offensive, to “ride towards the sound of gunfire.”
Where the fight is, that is where we must go.
With the help of the Holy Ghost, we
should open our “mouth boldly
to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds:
that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” You don’t play the
defensive in this spiritual battle, as in tactical warfare, nobody ever won a
battle by being stuck on the defensive. You must go out and preach boldly and
speak the truth and not worry about the consequences of doing so.
The Word spreads “by word of
mouth” and by action. Your mouth,
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.”
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 can heal your son at a
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.
text, Luther wrote: "Although the Lord performed miracles and signs to
make Himself known and to lead people to faith in Him, the underlying purpose
was to focus their attention on the Word rather than on the signs which served
merely to attest the truth of His testimony. Faith must rest on the Word of
theologian wrote: "In affliction faith is practiced and chastened. If a
person can see, taste and experience the help and grace of the Lord, then that
person learns to trust the Word and nothing but the Word. That is the true
faith, trusting the Lord for its own sake. Such faith comes not from flesh and
blood. It's the Lord to which faith clings. That almighty Word works
Jesus led this nobleman from a
"miracle" faith to a true faith in His Word. He does this to us also.
"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. No matter what we are going
through, the persistence in faith is what builds us up as Christians, to keep
going in times that are less than
pleasant, as we continue to progress as pilgrims to Our Father above.
We are asked to let God forgive us our sins and go to
battle in this world with His armor.
With Him all things are possible; when we depend on our own pitiful
resources, the outcome is in doubt and the result unlikely to be favorable in
the end. When you believe in our
Lord and act on that belief, victory is certain in the end. Understand, the result here on earth
may not be the one you want, but it is the one God wants for you. God expects you to accept His help and
act with His help to gain victory over the prince of this world.
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
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
Sir Winston Churchill,
Speech, 1941, Harrow School
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