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Sunday, March 18, 2018
Fifth Sunday in Lent - Passion Sunday
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
Consider these words from the Collect:
… thy people; … by thy great goodness … may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul …
In the Collect, we are acknowledging that without God’s great goodness and divine intervention, we cannot be preserved in both body and soul. When we ask we might be governed and thus preserved by His great goodness, we are in effect asking for His Guidance for us, so that we can be preserved in both body and soul. We are acknowledging that God is the ultimate good and is the source of all truth, and that we need His Help if we are to succeed. This concept is constant throughout all the collects. It is constant because it is the truth. We are in need of His Goodness and His Guidance to be able to follow the narrow uphill path towards heaven. Guidedmeans we need to ask, then listen to what He Tells us, then actually follow those instructions.
Following the instructions can be hard at times but it must be done nevertheless. For if we do not follow His Instructions, we will never make it. We certainly can’t get to heaven on our own sense of direction which is faulty. We need His guidance through the Holy Spirit in order to make any sort of progress on the road to heaven.
If we are looking to Him for guidance, we then need look to Him for safety. Safety meaning onlythe safety of our soul, our eternal life. It does not mean safety from dangers to the body here on Earth. The body is just a temporary shell for our soul to be carried in while we do our best to do what God asks of us. Protection from what we deserve by our own nature, eternal damnation. That is a more important safety than here on the temporary physical plane. This existence is only temporary and will be over in a blink of an eye. Eternity is far longer than that. So, the safety of us on this plane of existence is not nearly as important as in eternity.
Our only means of being accounted as perfect when we come before God is to rely on the sacrifice and intermediary priesthood of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ to account us as perfect before God on that final day. Your AOC ministers, while officially titled as priests, are not intermediary priests; there is one intermediary high priest, Jesus Christ the Righteous who is also the propitiation for our sins! And the day of the intermediary priests have come and gone for us with the Old Testament in the past. We only need Christ and He is our direct line to God, there are no middle men between us and Jesus. He is our Savior, our Leader, our Teacher, our Master, our Example!
Christ came to succeed the Old Covenant which was marked by sacrifices of innocent animals, that really did not do the job, with the New Covenant which is marked by His death on the cross for our sins, and this has done the job intended. Before the world began God knew of both the New and the Old Covenants. However, the Old Covenant had to be put in place before the New Covenant, that is to say Jesus, could come to Earth. The people had to be prepared for Him. He could not come before the people were ready for Him in their hearts. The Old Covenant was put in place merely to prepare the people for Christ’s coming.
Going back to the concept of action, not just diction, we should follow this concept by spreading the Gospel, the story of Jesus’ death and sacrifice for us for all time, and for all mankind, to all nations. In this, He has pretty much said if we are His followers, we will do as He asks, in acting for Him. Action, not just diction, is what He is looking for. So, let us act for Him!
In the Gospel, Jesus explained to the Pharisees that before Abraham had even been conceived, He was. In fact, Jesus was the one who created this Earth, so He has been around since before the beginning of the planet. The Pharisees could or would not grasp in their heads that Jesus was who He claimed to be, the Son of God. They chose to try to destroy His ministry rather than follow Him. Time and time again we see them confronted with the truth that Jesus offers and they always choose to reject it rather than embrace the truth.
This is a very common pattern with the enemies of God. Their hearts have been blinded by their love of their selves, pride and greed. They cannot see the simple truths we see as followers of God. They look down upon us and think we are the ignorant ones, when reality is the other way around.
They cannot see that the priceless gift Jesus came to offer us. Jesus came to save our souls and give us eternal life, eternal life starting right then. Not just for the Jews and Israel, but the whole wide world, Jew, Gentile, Greek and all others. Jesus brought salvation and life to the entire world. That was not what the Pharisees were looking so hard for with their magnifying glasses as they examined Torah and The Law. They were looking for only what would be a temporary power, power on this physical plane. This pales in comparison to safety in eternity. Pharisees were not big picture people, and as Calvin told Hobbes, “We big picture people rarely become historians.” It would seem that also applied to the Pharisees as they were not “big picture people”, they misinterpreted the prophecies of the Messiah. Regardless, even though some people chose to misunderstand the prophecies, He came and He made that one sacrifice, at one time, for all mankind, for all time. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Who is Jesus? Our Savior? Indeed. But, more He has been since before the beginning of the world, for He is One with I Am.
Through His Actions, we are saved.
Do ye likewise:
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?
It is by our actions we are known.
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God
If the text of this sentence seems familiar, it is John 3.16, probably the most widely quoted text of the Bible.
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