Sunday, April 21, 2019
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:
… who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect…
In the Collect, we acknowledge God sent His Son to be our Savior. Think about that, the Creator, Lord and Master of the Universe sent His only Son to not only live amongst us and minister and guide us but to give His earthly life as a one time sacrifice for our sin that we might be accounted as perfect in our final accounting, the resurrection. Today is the day of His Resurrection, where we celebrate His triumphant return from his descent into Hell after he died on the Cross and battled Satan for our souls. Not a lot of people think about the suffering Christ endured on our behalf after His painful death upon the cross. When HE died His sufferings had only just begun as He descended into darkness itself, Satan’s dominion to do battle with Satan for our souls. We do not know much about the particular details of that battle, but it is good enough for us to know that He triumphed and won our eternal freedom. He freed us from the shackles from Death. God valued His Son exceedingly, but consider then how much He loves us in turn to allow His Precious Only Begotten Son to die a painful death and to do battle with the Devil for our eternity.
The Collect also points out that we need God’s special grace to prevent, that is to go before us, and to set good desires in our mind and overcome the natural evil desires. This is a point that not a lot of churches make these days as they have been overcome by the whims of the World. We need His presence within our hearts and minds if we are to follow Him.
Jesus set an example of humility and patience, both exceedingly rare qualities in us. That example is extremely difficult for us to follow without God’s help. This is the reason God sent the Holy Ghost to be here with us. The Holy Ghost was sent to us that we might have understanding, comfort, strength, perseverance, courage, inspiration; all qualities we lack without the help of God. With Jesus’ sacrifice and the help of the Holy Ghost to follow Him, turning our backs on this world, we can be part of His resurrection. The resurrection itself sets a pattern that we should follow. We must first die, that is to stop our sinning, then rise again, that is to live, with humility and patience like the example Jesus set for us. We must resurrect our lives and transform them into something new. There was a reason God set Easter in the springtime. Not only was the time of His death and rising again, but it came at a time where the flowers bloomed anew, having been dead in winter, as Christ had been dead, and rose again, just as those flowers bloom again. This is very symbolic of His Death and Resurrection and it is no coincidence Easter happened during this time.
Jesus set the standard of obedience to God’s will and He expects us to follow Him. His standard is an extremely difficult act for us to follow. natural inclination is not set to follow His will but ours. That is the main reason for the difficulty. It is hard! However, when you stop and think about what Jesus went through, is it as hard as His Trials and Death and Battling Satan? No matter who you are, the answer is never going to be yes. For no matter what bad times we go through, it is nothing compared to what He went through. And in the end, the path we must follow will still be easier than if we refuse to follow Him and try and forge our own path. We will be far happier if we follow his example and lead a righteous and steadfast life, full of grace and humility, as well as patience.
In our lives, it is important to think about Jesus’ example before we do what we want to do. Is what you are wanting in line with Jesus’ message? Think about the answer. If you let the Holy Ghost in to your heart you will know the answer, you will know what you are supposed to do. You may not like it, but you will know it. Which is more comforting than the World’s way, which seems to go off in every which direction, and they are never certain about anything. However, we can be certain about what we know, what believe and we can translate that certainty into our actions. This is because we follow the ultimate unwavering source of truth, God Himself.
Jesus knew what was coming, how much it would hurt both His Body and Soul as He went through with the crucifixion and subsequent descent in to Hell. Yet, He also knew this was God’s Will that we might live. If He did this for you, how can you not follow Him wherever His Will takes you? If He was willing to do that for all of us, then how can we not repay Him to the best of our ability? His Sacrifice demands that we repay Him to the best of our ability, by the sheer nature of it; his perfection being offered in place of our imperfection.
These days people have forgotten how special Jesus’s Death and Resurrection is to us. It is a sign of the times, perhaps maybe even close to the end times that Churches have fallen into apostasy and have in fact are even actively denying His Ministry, His Death and His Resurrection. Jesus commanded us to always remember His Death and Passion, that we might be partakers of His Heavenly Kingdom.
If we do not remember His Death and Passion, can we truly be partakers of His Heavenly Kingdom?
How can we?
He is asking us to act and if we do not choose to act for Him then we cannot be truly on His Side. It is not enough just to ‘have’ faith, we need to back our faith up with actions and choose to act For Him, to remember His Ministry, Death and Resurrection and do our best with the help of the Holy Ghost to follow the standard He set.
Jesus set an example difficult to follow even with the help of the Holy Ghost, but impossible to follow without the help of the Holy Ghost. Our eternal life does not come to us for free. It was paid with the blood of God’s only begotten Son. We have a debt to Him that we cannot even close to repaying, but we can start by choosing to follow Him each and every day. Where we fall short, we get back up the next day and do better than the previous day.
We must remember His Example when times get harder and more difficult as it becomes closer to the end of this world and the beginning of our eternity with God. Let us act for Him and make it known that we reject mammon and embrace the example of Jesus Christ. We may lose friends and even some family as a result of standing with God, but the consequences for not standing with God are far worse than losing shallow people in your life.
When the time comes, how will you ACT?
It is by our actions we are known.
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God