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Sunday, May 6, 2018
Fifth Sunday after Easter, commonly called Rogation Sunday
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought 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:
… by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same…
As we near the Ascension and thus Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Ghost, we ask for God’s “holy inspiration we may think those things that are good”, that is to say help from the Holy Ghost so we might direct our souls to the things we cannot see as good without His Help. Then once we can see the things as good, we will still need His Help to guide us to act on those things.
James makes the point we gain our salvation through the freely given gift of Grace by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is on us to accept the gift of Grace. If we truly accept the gift, we must of consequence act upon the Word. Then once we have accepted the gift, our actions will naturally reflect that we are a hearer and a doer of the Word, and not just a hearer only. It is easier to be a hearer of the Word, it is harder to be a doer. To truly be a believer requires that we make that belief known in our lives through action. If you are going to be a Christian, the key is right there – BE. Being requires action, not just diction. Many can talk the talk, but will they walk the walk, too? Being a Christian requires doing both, which may be very difficult sometimes, but it must be done. It is the only way we will have salvation through Christ, but yet we must be with Him, by acting for Him.
If our stated belief has any meaning, we have to align our lives with that of the Word. For without aligning our lives to the Word via action, our stated belief is meaningless. The meaning of our belief comes when we act upon that belief for God. In this world there are many Christians who are not truly Christian because they do not act upon their claimed belief. To the world, through our actions, we must show the truth of John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” To show this truth we have to live that truth through our actions. It is not just enough to say we know the Word of God, if we truly know the Word of God, we must act upon that Word of God and serve Him in this life.
Serving God in this life naturally requires we align our being with Him and what better way to do that than acting for Him and advancing His Cause here on Earth. By aligning our principles with God’s, we can show the World our Faith has meaning and we are upholding Christian principles. This is not always easy. At times we will fail, but like every other time we fail, we have to get up and get back in the saddle. That is, confess and repent of our sins and go forth striving to do better and not sin again.
John’s writings provide a lot of valuable theological knowledge and comfort. He gives us an insight into things that none of the other disciples have given us. We need help. We pray for help. Pray for help that we might act, and that is how we keep on the straight, narrow and uphill path. So, what about prayer? Let’s start with to whom do we pray?
Jesus is pretty clear we are not to pray to Him; we are to pray to God. He instructs us to pray to God in His Name. He tells us God loves us because we love Jesus; but, pray to God. I think that there are not many people have ever understood this part of scripture, as I have heard people pray to Jesus when he is not the correct person to address your prayers to. He specifically tells us to direct the prayers to His Father who will help us.
Once we have the answer from Our Heavenly Father we need to take that message into our hearts, souls and minds and with the help of the Holy Ghost, to act upon it. Once we act upon that message, we are living the belief we profess to the world. For without the actions that accompany our belief, we cannot truly claim to be followers of Christ.
We have to realize what we truly need and ask that He will open our hearts, minds and souls to His answer that we might act upon His answer. The key word here is what we truly need, not what we want. Our needs and wants are not the same thing and whenever we are asking God, we have to make sure we are asking for a need and not just a want. It is easy to confuse need and want. They are too oft used interchangeably when they should not be.
The critical portion of all of this is that we act upon the answer that we are given, to do our best for Him and that our friends, family and coworkers and neighbors might see the light we shine for Him and see who we follow in word and in deed. We must show others not just through our words, but through our actions we truly belong to Christ’s flock. We must show great love for our fellow man, even to the point of death, through our actions, to reflect Christ’s love for us, that He, too, loved us even to the point of death.
So, pray to God, ask for what you want in Jesus’ Name. He always listens and He always delivers. The problem for us is He delivers what we need, not necessarily what we want. Our wants and our needs are oft different, in fact they are seldom the same. But we should want what we need, and God will help us understand that, if we be a doer and just a hearer of His Word. He will always give us what we need; but will we listen to what He wants us to do?
God’s Will is always done, we just don’t understand. Accept what happens as acceptable, so long as you have done all you can. In the end, all that counts is where you go when you leave here. That depends on your actions in following Jesus’ instructions. If you believe, you are safe. Now and forever.
Ø Talk the Talk;
Ø Walk the Walk.
It is 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