Sunday, September 2, 2018
Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon tied the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
Today we talk consider The Law and how it failed to solve the problems of the people it was designed to help and think about how getting around technicalities is different than doing what is right.
Consider the words of the Collect, “…give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command…”
The Collects often are repetitive, in that we ask the same thing, week after week in differing ways. Why is that? Sadly, we have the same needs and the same failings week after week. We are WEAK, we need God’s STRENGTH. Today, we ask Him to help us, through the Holy Ghost, to increase our faith, to help us love what He wants us to do, to make His Wishes our wishes. To make us want to follow Him that we might gain the prize which He has promised us. That prize is eternal life which begins when we accept it, not when we die. We need to realize this fact and adjust our lives accordingly. We have to shift our focus from the short term to the ultra long term (i.e, eternal) view of our actions. This will help us to become better spiritual stewards of the gifts which God has bestowed upon us.
In order to become those4 better spiritual stewards we will need that increase of faith, hope and love (charity is but another word for love) in order to be able to stay on the course that God has charted for us. By ourselves we cannot stay on course and would deviate from where God wants us to be. We need God’s Help to maintain our course guidance. He is the ultimate and infallible navigator that will never get us off track. It will be up to us to let Him in so we can maintain our charted course towards Him.
That is why we are praying for that increase of faith, hope and love, so we can maintain that course guidance. In order to stay on course, we need to listen to what He says and act upon it. Not just listen to what He says then go off and do what we want to do. This requires change on our part, modification of our behavior to follow Him. It requires actual action. This is the one constant of Christian living that is unavoidable. We cannot be considered true Christians and not act. For if we say we are Christians we need to perform those actions, which will truly identify us as believers. Like the tag-line at the end of my sermons, it is truly by our actions we are known.
The Holy Ghost will give us the vision we need to walk on the path towards God. It will be a very clear vision not blurry and distorted like the way of the World. It will define and light up the path that we are to follow, and then all that will be left is for us to actually move upon that path, closer to Him. It won’t be an easy and quick path, but it will be a sure path nevertheless and in the end that is all that matters, is that the path we have chosen, the hardest path is the surest one. The quick and easy shortcut would only lead to our spiritual doom.
That brings us right in to Paul’s Letter to the Galatians and us! We need to walk in God’s Word and in His Spirit. Paul in this letter lists the behaviors that are not in accord with the Way of God. All of those things that He lists are not how the Sons and Daughters of God should act. They are things we should be actively working on avoiding and or overcoming. These things are extremely detrimental to our spiritual and physical health. If we are of God, then we will act of God, only then will we be of God.
Yet, God has the answer for us. He sent His Son to bring it to us. Who will listen?
The only people who listen are those who are in need, hurt, pain and despair. Often it is because they, or one of their loved ones, are ill or injured, perhaps near death. Perhaps they are unemployed or undergoing some family upheaval. Their situation is less than perfect. They need help and they know it. In their own mind, they are the Samaritans of this world. It is no accident Jesus’ parables and stories center on actions, not words, thoughts and meditations. Actions are who you are. Actions show the world who you follow, God or Mammon. You cannot truly be a believer if you don’t act for Him. Without action, there is nothing. The key driving principle behind his parables are actions for Him, are those of goodness, not of evil. Those who believe on me keep my commandments.
Yet, those who turn to God in “need” are no different than each of us. To quote Paul, “None are perfect, all fall short.” We, each and every one of us, need God’s help. Perhaps some need it more, none need it less.
When Luke tells us of Jesus and the ten lepers whom He heals and only one expresses thanks, do you think he is only telling of lepers?
Through our Lord, God is there for each of us if we will accept His help. When He gives that help, how do we react? Frankly most of us just think it our due. We oft fail to give thanks for all that He gives us.
When we get an answer we don’t expect, do we thank Him? What if we get an answer? Do we thank Him?
Like the lepers only one in ten will show thanks for the mercy and help given them. Rarely do people give thanks for large efforts done to help them. We must endeavor to be grateful for Him and for all of those who strive hard to help us out in our times of need. In the case of the lepers, it was the Samaritan, showing that fancy dress and rules are not as important as doing what is right and being grateful for what we are given.
Are you part of that 10 percent?
Remember, it is Pleaseand Thank Youthat are the magic words, not Pleaseand I don’t have time for you.
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
Samaritan - Of or pertaining to Samaria, in Palestine. -- n. A native or inhabitant of Samaria; also, the language of Samaria. [1913 Webster]
Samaritans were descendants of those who had stayed behind during the Captivity and had been separated for many years from the body of Judaism. They had not developed, nor did they subscribe to them, all the rules the Jews managed to invent during their separation. The main body of Jews viewed them as lesser peoples, not really Jews.