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Sunday, May 27, 2018
Sermon – Reverend Hap 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.
Today’s sermon covers the basic concept of the Triune God, that is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and how they were introduced to us through time and the Bible in particular; it draws the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. .
Consider these words from the Collect:
… acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity…
In the Collect, we acknowledge there is a Triune God, that is to say there are three aspects of God; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. A Triune God means literally Three in One, not three separate Gods or godlets, but a single being with three aspects. How does this work?
The honest answer is – WE DON’T KNOW. We have not been told of how this Being operates. We just have been told that there are three and They are ONE. We have some knowledge and scriptural guidance on how parts of the thing work, but not all. Saint Paul told the people of Corinth, 12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)One of the basic principles of classified information is that it is only to be revealed to those who have an actual NEED TO KNOW, not just the curious. Like many secrets, we don’t really have a need to know, so we have not been told.
· God is I AM;
· God the Father sent The Son to be our Savior, He was there at the beginning and created this world;
· The Holy Ghost breathed life into the world, and brings understanding, comfort, strength, perseverance, courage, inspiration, patience;
· They all have always been and always will be.
That is what we know; it leaves a lot we don’t know, but we can certainly be kept busy with what we do know. That must be enough for the here and now. It is enough for us to operate on His Word with our simple and limited understanding of the Trinity. We must be content with what we read in Scripture, all the other stuff we wonder about Him is just extraneous details, like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? So much theological discussion is captured in that term. So, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Whatever the number, the answer from our standpoint is so very simple, As many as God determines the circumstances require. Note, as God requires! Not you, not me. God. Trying to think about those detailed details that we do not know or understand only serves as a distraction from following God and doing what He asks. He does not want us to speculate on how the Three in One concept works, but rather just understand it is and go forth and follow Him to the best of our abilities.
We must put aside the thoughts of who and what God is, and just understand He is I AM, there is God, there is the Son, there is the Holy Ghost and they all work together in their own way to be the one God of our faith. There is a reason for this even though we don’t know it, but it works out, so we do not have to wonder how it works, we just continue believing and acting!
But, what of later? If we have eternal life, we have it now and later. What comes later? Heaven. What is heaven? John attempts to tell us. He attempts to show us the majesty and glory of heaven using words. The picture he paints is intended to be awe inspiring and seems to meet that goal handily. The main thing we can be certain of is that we will not be disappointed. We speculate as to will this or that be in heaven? When we get there, the answer will manifest itself and you will have no regrets. John’s description is to tell us heaven will easily surpass all of our expectations. He is trying to convey Heaven is a destination truly worth our earthly toils. In heaven, there is no disappointment. Heaven is the real world, where things are bright, not dull and dark as though looking through a glass. Rest assured, we will see for ourselves what it is like one day, all we need to know is that it is a really wonderful place we should be aiming to go to when we die, through our belief and actions here on earth working together!
So, how do we get to the real world from these Shadowlands? There is but one way, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the Propitiation for our sins.
Do not be fooled by “fair”, there is only one way into heaven. That door is at the end of a long and narrow trail, steeply inclined upward with many seemingly easy, smooth, beautiful and interesting branches leading downward into the pit. Doing good is good, so to speak; doing good without God is not good enough. Only being accounted perfect will get you up the path and in the door.
We need help! Lots of help. The first thing we need in our hearts is a new heart, a new and contrite heart. This is what Jesus was telling Nicodemus in the Gospel. He was explaining how we need a new heart in order to continue to serve God. The Pharisees could not or would not see that their hearts were not good enough on their own to serve Him, as ours are not if they are not regenerated. That is really hard, in fact, it is so hard it cannot be done by ourselves. We need something. A new start.
We must be born of the spirit! What spirit?
The Holy Ghost. We must accept we in and of ourselves will never be perfect. Our hearts as they are will not lead us towards God, but away from God unless we have the help of the Holy Ghost! No one gets in to heaven unless they are accounted as perfect. We will never be perfect in and of ourselves. Should we quit trying? No! We are commanded to follow our Christ. Will we fail? Without question. What is the solution? To believe and follow the Christ. To open our hearts to the Holy Ghost that we might believe in full and accept the help from the Christ that our imperfection needs to be His followers.
To follow God, we need Christ as our leader and the Holy Ghost as our compass. In short, we need all members of the Trinity’s influence in our lives if we are to arrive in the real world, that of Heaven.
There is but one way to heaven.
That easy to find, easy to follow, easy to hike path does not lead to the summit where eternal life in the real world awaits. Open your heart to the Holy Ghost; use His Power to follow our Lord to God who awaits in heaven.
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