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Sunday, January 10, 2016
First Sunday after the Epiphany
Sermon – Reverend Hap Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Through the leading of the star, the wise men from Persia (modern day Iran) were led to seek the Christ Child. This was the “revealing” of Christ to the Gentiles, and the first such event. Though he mainly ministered to the Jews of Israel, it is important that he ministered to the Roman governor and the Faithful Centurion (from which our parish gets its name) whom were Gentiles.
Though the Apostles in the early church did not think ministering to the Gentiles was worthy, through the actions of St. Paul, The Word began spreading to the Gentiles. Paul says in his Epistle the time has come we should start spreading to the Gentiles, and bring our gifts (talents) to His Service (as our talents are on loan from God, as Rush Limbaugh says) and use them accordingly to further His purpose on this planet.
Paul also said that he was charged by God to bring The Word to all, not just the Jews. The time was now ripe to expand past the original target market (the Jews), and to spread it to all. He said that he wished to explain the mysteries (The Word) of God to all, including the Gentiles, that they might see and hear The Word.
In the Gospel, Herod tries to entice the wisemen to find the Christ child and report His whereabouts to him that, he claims “that I will come and will worship him.” But like most modern leaders of the world today, his words were duplicitous in nature. “I will come and worship him” translated to he would come and murder Christ, as he did the Holy Innocents, while Christ was in Egypt.
After they visited the Christ child. God warned the wisemen in a dream of Herod’s true intentions, and they went home a different way so they avoided a confrontation with Herod. They brought Jesus frankincense, incense and myrrh. In a way, they did what Paul talked about and brought Him “gifts” for His Service. Now we do not know if these gifts were ever used in Christ’s life. But, like present time gift giving, it is not the gifts themselves that are important. It is the thought and meaning behind the giving of gifts.
Now in this troubled time, we must be ready to bring our talents to Him, to use for His Glory and to spread His Word. In this time, we must spread The Word and without ceasing praise Him and His Majesty. In order to institute a turn around of the moral decay, we must first act. If we do not act, then how can we expect to stem the tide of the moral decay. We must act with steadfast purpose.
This may require some courage on our behalf, as we will be mocked and perhaps in this troubled time, may come a day, when we like the apostles are thrown in jail. However scary this time may be for spreading His Word, no matter how hostile it is, we must do it anyway. We are soldiers of Christ and like our military counterparts, we must do out duty, then count the cost. We must step forward into this hostile world, and charge forward against the fire of hostile media and people, whose hearts have been turned to stone. We must charge against them, using The Word as our defense and our offense against Satan. The greatest defense is the best offense. And we truly have both in The Word of God. We must remember God wants everybody to follow Him, not just certain ethnic groups (like the Jews), and we must concentrate on spreading His Word, through bringing our Gifts and Talents to His Service.
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God
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