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Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
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
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
As is oft
the case, today’s propers are all tied together.
As is usual, they call for action not just
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!
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 not have any problems with getting food to eat. The collect
says that we are asking God to stir up our will that we might be concentrating
on performing good works for Him and noting that through those actions we will
be plenteously rewarded.
course ,requires us to let God into our hearts. Then once He is in our hearts,
we are to let Him stir up His Will in our hearts, to incline us to perform good
works for Him and to go out and actually perform those good works. 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
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 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 corrupted, 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.
else in this world can 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.
No art or work of mammon can come even close
to the pure satisfaction following God provides us. 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 well being, except for the joy of following
follow our own heart and guidance, we will seek the things of this world.
As explained before, the things of this world
cannot compare in satisfaction value to God and the Word of God.
If we set our hearts on acquiring things of
this world, we will be seeking material superiority. Which will lead to things
like stealing, coveting, all negative attributes that go against God’s
These are all things that if you
look at the Ten Commandments, violate them.
on history and see how much evil action can be laid to not only coveting but
some of these other evil desires by not only persons, but nations. We can look
at the examples of the early wars in Europe, and of late, of the wars started
by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan for examples.
examples show we are not truly capable of satisfying ourselves, but that only
Jesus and the Holy Spirit can fill the hole. This is why we truly need the Holy
Ghost acting in our hearts and cleansing us of these impure thoughts. We
desperately need the influence that the Trinity provides in our life. Our life
will be so much more rewarding and happier, if we have them involved in our
lives, versus those who do not have them in their life.
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 know the joy of eternal life that He gave for 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.
It has been said there is no free lunch.
That is true, it is better said that everything has a price.
There are some things are worth paying for,
some are not.
Not one thing is worth
coveting or stealing in the Ten Commandments sense.
Be sure and pay for everything, do not steal
or partake in acquisition of stolen goods.
inordinate desire for more money can lead to theft; the desire for more
prestige, to evil ambition; the desire for more power, to tyranny; the desire
for a person's body, to fornication and adultery. This inordinate desire for
more money is a gateway drug of sorts, leading us into more sins. Paul
identifies covetousness as idolatry because it puts things in the place of
When we put things over God’s Will,
we no longer worship Him, but avoid Him.
people serve idols, they place things above God.
When you covet, you are willing to set aside
God for things.
In the end, that never
And, near the end it gets pretty
We find idols easier to deal
with than God.
You can make an idol; God
If you don’t like the idol’s
rules, you change the rules. We can’t change God’s rules so we seek to change
Him to an idol so we can change the rules.
God stands fast and is unchanging, unlike the World which is constantly
changing things to suit its sinful desires.
There are some pretty big differences there.
We shall never be satisfied
with the riches and the cares of this world.
If we let the Holy Ghost into our hearts, we will find happiness and
satisfaction in His Word.
It will be
more satisfying than the riches of this world could ever be.
He asks of us nothing
special, but to do our very best and not just say it. It is something that 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
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.
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.
louder than words, but when we actually use
that inspiration of the Holy Ghost and 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
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
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