Verse of the Day

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Third Sunday after Easter

If you enjoy this, the entire
AOC Sunday Report is
Sermon - Rev Hap Arnold
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Rev Jack is currently traveling back from Detachment One - Okinawa; thus there is a sermon from Hap.

Todays sermon ties 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 showest to them that are in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Religion, that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same

God, our God, the only God, is a Triune God; that is Three Persons in One.  Not three gods, but One God, with three aspects.  Three Persons, one God.  Somewhat confusing, do you think? This is truly, no matter what “the learned” say something we do not understand, yet must accept on faith.  When we get to heaven, we will be shown the fullness of that concept, but in the mean time, we must just take it on faith and deal with the reality of it.  In this case, the God who will show us our errors is the Holy Ghost, that Third God Guy, the one who brings:

·      Understanding
·      Comfort
·      Strength
·      Courage
·      Perseverance
·      Insight

Thus, it is through the actions of the Holy Ghost in our hearts, minds and souls that we are lead to see the errors of our own performance.  What are errors?  They are when our actions fall short of God’s Plan for us.  Thus, we also need the operation of the Holy Ghost in our hearts, souls and minds that we might truly understand what God wants us to do.  So where do we find that information?  Scripture!  God has given us Scripture; and what is Scripture?  God’s instructions for us – Yes!  And, another fancy word, kind of fancy at least, for the Bible.  The Original Book! Consider what is contained in the Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent:

LESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

This is not Scripture, do not be confused, it is a prayer that we might study Scripture giving illumination to the need to gain knowledge from The Word and act on said knowledge.  For knowledge without action is worthless, actually probably worse than worthless.

Today’s Collect goes on to ask that we be lead by the Holy Ghost to avoid those things God warns against and like, value and follow those He has set for us to do so.

That pretty much brings us to Saint Peter’s point in his first General Epistle when he tells us to avoid those things that are bad for us, which he refers to as fleshly lusts, and to live our lives as God has directed.  If we do this, our actions will be good.  If our actions are good, those around us, believers and non-believers alike, will be motivated or inspired by our example.

In a prime example of why good Christians make good citizens of a God oriented country, Peter tells us to follow civil law.  This, of course, does not mean to follow civil law where it is diametrically opposed to the Law of God, but a country whose laws draw their authority from God[1] should not have laws diametrically opposed to the Law of God, should it?

Peter goes on to tell us we are free from the Mosaic Laws, but not from Christ’s Summary of the Law:

Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith:

HOU shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.      (BCP Page 69)

We are not to use our so-called freedom to do evil, but rather to follow God’s design for us.  One of the keys to attaining a better, for it will never be good, performance here on earth is teamwork.  We need to find other followers of the Lord and work together with them.  So, look around, find Christians with whom you can associate and come together to work for the Lord.  Mutual Support is a concept that has applicability in many places, none more important than in our battle with the Devil for our souls.

While Paul wrote almost half the Books of the Bible, John wrote some very very important portions for our edification.  Some of what he writes might seem little more that historical narrative, but in it is much of the theology[2] upon which we rely.  In the case of John 16:16 and on, Jesus is talking to the disciples before His arrest, trial, crucifixion, earthly death and resurrection.  He is preparing the disciples for what is to come.  His death on the Cross would be great sorrow for His followers, yet great joy for those who follow the Prince of Darkness, whose religion was their earthly success, the religious rulers of the area and their toadies.  But, three days later, the tables would turn.  The disciples would be filled with joy at the delivery of the promise of life eternal, the followers of the Prince of Darkness, not so much.

Like the woman who passes through the pain of childbirth into the joy of her newborn baby, when we pass through the pain of this earth, we gain the joy of heaven.  When we make it to heaven, all the pain of this vale of tears is left behind.

But, now we are not in heaven, we are here on earth, a place where we must act, not just talk or think.  ACT!

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

As we go off on our business, please recall this quote from GK Chesterton:

“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting;
it has been found difficult and not tried.”

[1] Note the Declaration of Independence: 

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
[2] Theology - the study of the nature of God and religious belief.

No comments: