Verse of the Day

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Third Sunday after Trinity

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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. 

Consider these words from the Collect:

… hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may, by thy mighty aid, be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities …

The Collect starts as they often do by asking God to hear us.  It seems to me that this is rather odd a thing to ask as He hears us all the time; the problem is that when we need His Help we so rarely ask, then when He answers, we will not hear Him.  That being said, when we do accept the Holy Ghost’s Help to pray, we can expect to receive spiritual, mental and physical comfort from God.  The key word in this is accept.  In order to receive the comfort from God, we have to first let him into our hearts to begin his renewal of our spirit. If we do not accept the Holy Ghost’s help, then God will not be able to help us.

It would be foolish not to accept the Great Physician’s help to transform our spirits. It would be like having cancer, and there being a cure for cancer and rejecting that cure. For without the help of the Holy Ghost into our hearts, we truly cannot follow Christ. We of ourselves cannot follow God without His Divine Assistance. We are sheep that have gone astray from our shepherd and without Jesus, we will be wolf food. And the wolf I am speaking of is Satan. Peter uses the point that Satan is like a lion seeking of whom he can spiritually devour. For this example, the wolf and lion are almost equivalent. Satan is a spiritual predator that we can only defeat with the Holy Ghost within our heart.

However when we accept the Holy Ghosts help into our heart, we must let go of our pride, arrogance and evil ways. Prideful beings cannot be followers of Christ. For undue/unchecked pride is what has led the downfall of many people/leaders and their nations, like the Roman Empire for example. Peter makes this point when he says that God resists the proud and gives His Grace to the humble. The humble are those who are more likely to accept His Grace and the Holy Ghosts’ help to renew their spirit. The proud are those who think they are self-made people and scoff at the very idea of God sending his only begotten son that we should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). These people are very resistant to God and the Holy Spirt and they are truly the ones who are deaf they will not hear the Word and so blind they cannot see the truth of the Gospel.

The humble know they cannot make it into heaven on their own; thus they know they need that divine help and are willing to accept it. They know that nothing great can be achieved without God’s help. These are the people to whom God gives His Grace, those willingly embrace His Help and utilize it in their lives.

We must strive to be humble in our lives and less prideful. Pride obscures our spiritual vision, so we cannot see our own faults in our own lives. When we let go of that pride, we can see where we are in error and when we accept the Holy Ghost help, we can begin to fix the cracks and faults in our spiritual character. The Holy Ghost can shine a light into the darkest areas of our hearts. Jesus could do this as well and He knew very well the spiritual character of each person He encountered in His Earthly Ministry. 

With a clear view of the inner most thoughts of their hearts, Jesus tells the Pharisees the story of the shepherd who loses a sheep and searches for it.  When he finds it he carries it back to the flock on his shoulders. He goes on to tell the story of the woman who loses a piece of silver and turns her house inside out to find it. That story ends in a very interesting word play in English, “Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece (peace) which I had lost.”  Jesus ends the story with, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” 

The moral of the parable is that Jesus is all about saving the sinners, not those who are already “righteous.” But for us, there are none who are already “righteous.” I liken the church as a hospital for sinners. And all of the saints were sinners in the past too, to paraphrase my mother. Having said that, there is also joy when we do not sin, but choose God’s way.  And we enjoy it more also. So, it is preferable if we do not sin in the first place, but if we can’t do that, then God finds joy when we truly repent and turn back to Him and ask for His help and be willing to listen.

Notice Jesus’ actions when He finds a lost sheep, He carries it back to the flock on His shoulders with a smile on His face. He rejoices in each lost soul saved. This is what the Church is about, bringing lost souls to Our Shepherd of Souls, Our Savior, Our Advocate, Jesus Christ, to His Kingdom of Heavenly Joys.

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

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