Verse of the Day

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Fifth Sunday in Lent, commonly called Passion 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. 

Consider these words from the Collect:

… thy people; … by thy great goodness … may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul …

In the Collect, we acknowledge without God’s great goodness and divine intervention, we cannot be preserved in either body or soul.  This is a constant truth through ought the Bible and the New Testament in particular.  Without God’s great goodness we simply cannot be preserved. What does asking for God’s great goodness mean for us? It means when we ask we might be governed and thus preserved by His great goodness, we are in effect asking for His Guidance for us, so we can be preserved in both body and soul. We acknowledge God is the ultimate good and is the source of all truth, and we need His Help if we are to succeed. This concept is constant throughout all the collects. It is constant because it is the truth. We can only follow the narrow uphill path towards heaven with His Goodness and His Guidance.  As always, if we are left to our own devices and desires, we are lost.  Guidedmeans we need to ask, then listen to what He Tells us, then actually follow those instructions.   It is one thing to listen, it is another thing to actually pay attention, understand and act upon those instructions. The main word that describes Jesus’ ministry on Earth is action. Without action, we do not have evidence to back up that we have faith, Jesus’s faith. For if we have Jesus’s faith, we would follow in His Example and act. As the ending line of my sermons state, it is by our action we are known. 

Following instructions can be hard at times but it must be done nevertheless. For if we do not follow His Instructions, we will never make it. We certainly can’t get to heaven on our own undependable and faulty sense of direction. We need His guidance through the Holy Spirit in order to make any sort of progress on the road to heaven.
If we are looking to Him for guidance, we then need look to Him for safety.  Safety meaning onlythe safety of our soul, our eternal life. It does not mean safety from dangers to the body here on Earth. The body is just a temporary shell for our soul to be carried in while we do our best to do what God asks of us. We aren’t asking God for safety from the dangers to the body; but more importantly, we are asking safety for our soul. When our bodies fail and die here on earth, it is not a big deal compared to what happens to our souls after Death. What we need above all is protection from what we deserve by our own nature; eternal damnation. That is a more important safety than here on the temporary physical plane. This existence is only temporary and will be over in a blink of an eye. Eternity is far longer than that.  So, the safety of us on this plane of existence is not nearly as important as in eternity. 

Our only means of being accounted as perfect when we come before God is to rely on the sacrifice and intermediary priesthood of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ to account us as perfect before God on that final day. Christ has replaced the intermediary priesthood of the Jews with himself our one and only High Intermediary Priest. Your AOC ministers, while officially titled as priests, are not intermediary priests! The day of the intermediary priests have come and gone for us with the Old Testament in the past. We only need Christ, there are no middle men between us and Jesus.  He is our Savior, our Leader, our Teacher, our Master, our Example! 

Christ came to succeed the Old Covenant marked by sacrifices of innocent animals; killing off animals in an effort to atone for our sins really did not do the job. It has always required Jesus’s sacrifice. The Old Covenant simply existed because it had to be on Earth first to prepare the people for the coming of the New. He established the New Covenant marked by His death on the Cross for our sins; this has done the job intended. Before the world began God knew of both the New and the Old Covenants. He knew He had to set in place the Old before He could set in place Jesus and the New Covenant. People simply would not be prepared for Jesus’s message otherwise.

Going back to the concept of action, not just diction, Jesus commanded us to follow this concept by spreading the Gospel, the story of Jesus’ death and sacrifice for us for all time, and for all mankind, to all nations. In this, He said very clearly if we are His followers, we will doas He asks, in acting for Him. Action, not just diction, is what He is looking for. So, let us act for Him! 

In the Gospel, Jesus explained to the Pharisees before Abraham had even been conceived, He was. In fact, Jesus was the one who created this Earth, so He has been around since before the beginning of the planet. The Pharisees could or would not grasp in their heads Jesus was who He claimed to be, the Son of God. They chose to try to destroy His ministry rather than follow Him. Time and time again we see them confronted with the truth Jesus offers and they always choose to reject it rather than embrace the truth.

This is a very common pattern with the enemies of God. Their hearts have been blinded by their love of their selves, pride and greed. They cannot see the simple truths we see as followers of God. They look down upon us and think we are the ignorant ones, when reality is the other way around. 

They cannot, or will not, see that the priceless gift Jesus came to offer us. Jesus came to save our souls and give us eternal life, eternal life starting right then.  Not just for the Jews and Israel, but the whole wide world, Jew, Gentile, Greek and all others.  Jesus brought salvation and life to the entire world.  That was not what the Pharisees were looking so hard for with their magnifying glasses as they examined Torah and The Law.  They were looking for what would be only a temporary power, power on this physical plane. This pales in comparison to safety and happiness forever, for all eternity.  Pharisees were not big picture people, and as Calvin told Hobbes, We big picture people rarely become historians or Pharisees, I might add.  The Pharisees were very obviously not big picture people; they misinterpreted the prophecies of the Messiah. Regardless, even though some people chose to misunderstand the prophecies, He came and He made that one sacrifice, at one time, for all mankind, for all time. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life[1].

Who is Jesus?  Our Savior?  Indeed.  But, more He has been since before the beginning of the world, for He is One with I Am.

Through His Actions, we are saved.

Do ye likewise:


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

[1]If the text of this sentence seems familiar, it is John 3.16, probably the most widely quoted text of the Bible.

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