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 below.
The Eighth Sunday after Trinity.
, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle came from Paul’s letter to the Romans, the Eighth Chapter, beginning at the Twelfth Verse. Paul tells us to live out our lives as Jesus instructed us to. If we live as we want, we die and are gone. If we live as Jesus commanded, we will live through to eternity. Life is not about here, it is about doing well enough here so we can get there. If we want the fruits of the heirship we have been given, we must live the part:
RETHREN, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Today’s Holy Gospel started in the Seventh Chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew, beginning at the Fifteenth Verse. Matthew records the warning that so few heed. Many leaders talk a good line, but how do they actually act, particularly in private? For it is private when none are looking that we are revealed. If you want to get to heaven, you have to act the part, not just talk about it.
EWARE of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Consider the words from the Collect, wherein we ask God who … ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; … to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us …
We must understand in our hearts that God does indeed “ordereth all things” here as well as in heaven. Even though it might not seem like it at times, we have to understand ultimately He is in control of all of the Universe. Once we understand that, then we can ask Him to keep us away from those things hurtful to us and incline our hearts towards those things that are good for us. This is one of the many things for which we need the inspiration of the Holy Ghost in our hearts. Without His Help, we cannot recognize the help we need. We tend to think of ourselves as perfectible by our own work, without the need to depend on others (Him). The problem is, it does not work. Im our lives we cannot be a stable influence on our own life that God and the Holy Spirit can. We cannot give ourselves the calming influence that the Holy Spirit can. If we could have perfected ourselves, then God would not have sent His Son Jesus to come down and die for our sins and account us as perfect. And yet, we cannot seem to figure this out on our own. To try what clearly does not work over and over again, is the very definition of insanity. On the other hand, if we look to God for help, for guidance, for direction, for course correction, for strength, for structure, for the ability to persevere, there is nothing that must be done that cannot be done.
Today’s Collect, Epistle and Gospel all come together with one theme. That theme is that if we are true believers God will protect us from hurtful things and will lead us to profitable things. Profitable not in the sense of being Bill Gates rich, but profitable in the sense that whatever God and the Holy Spirit will lead us to will be beneficial for our spiritual well being as well as our physical and mental well being. Paul mentions before receiving the Holy Spirit or the spirit of adoption, we were under Satan’s bondage. We have been released from that slavery to Satan and are now free peoples under Christ’s banner. We are not called to freedom from sin just to re-enter our previous state, but to be the new men of Christ. This means setting aside the previous things that hurt us spiritually, physically and mentally and focusing on pursuing a way of living that would honor God. That means examining our spiritual, physical and mental aspects of our lives, seeing what we need to do to improve it to follow His Word.
His Word brings us to another point. Which is does the Bible you use match the real Word of God? It is not the grammar or style that counts, but the facts, the points, the real message of Scripture. The Authorized Version comes from the Received Text and is reliable. Make certain the version you use loses nothing in the translation. Many modern versions use corrupted manuscripts omitting a large number of verses that corrupt the message of the New Testament, and in the case of John 3:16 for example, dilute Jesus Christ’s status as the only begotten son of God. The newer Bibles also are copyrighted so “Man” owns it, and not the author of Scripture, God our Father. In this case, these newer Bibles are not Bibles at all, but doctrine books of men set on not following Scripture.
So, once you let the Holy Ghost into your heart, then take the direction He Offers, read and understand Scripture, you will know what you are supposed to do. Then, you need to actually act
on that knowledge.
In the Gospel, Jesus covers similar ground.. He points out that if we are of the good tree, our actions will produce good fruit. Before, we were of the bad tree and that is why we produced nothing good. He also points out that not everyone that claims to be a Christian will get into heaven. He says only those who DO the will of God and actually ACT upon His Words will get into heaven and not just those who say they are doing the will of God. There is a distinct difference between the two. The whole point of all of today’s readings is that we need to act in a manner that is in accordance with Christ’s teachings.
Action counts. For by their actions ye shall know them.
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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