Sunday, August 4, 2019
Seventh Sunday after Trinity
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 the words from the Collect, … author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same (that is to say keep us in goodness)…
To get anywhere, we must acknowledge in our hearts all good is of and comes from God. Once we acknowledge this, we are in a position to ask God to put in to our hearts love of Him and all that is His. This will help us to appreciate and act in goodness. We have to realize without His love in our hearts, our efforts will ultimately be of no avail. With His Love in our hearts there is very little we cannot accomplish; without it, we can accomplish nothing good. We have to recognize this and pray continually for God’s love to enter into our hearts and stay in our hearts.
Because of our human nature, there will be plenty of times when we fail, but if we turn back to Him, then we shall succeed. We just have to listen to what He says and then not just listen but act on what He says. This holds true not just for myself, but all of us who follow Christ’s banner.
The clear message in today’s collect, Epistle and Gospel is that we need to be in God and have His Love acting within us. For the world is lost, so we cannot be of the world and expect to be saved. We can only serve one master, so let us serve the master of good rather than the master of evil. God versus Satan; who do you choose to be your master?
So, recognizing we cannot be a part of this world, we need to be holy, that is, set apart from the world in our thoughts, deeds and actions. Thus, when Paul wrote to the people of Rome, he was writing to all of us; for truly nothing is new in the world. There is truth to Solomon’s saying there is nothing new under the sun. For there is no new sin in the world that has not existed since the time of Adam. It may take different forms over the eons, but all sins are still the same since the dawn of man. Up until the time of Christ, we were still bound in our chains to Satan. We could not pass into the kingdom of heaven, even the Law of Moses could not redeem us, because, on our own we cannot be redeemed. It was only with the coming of Christ we could be redeemed.
He redeemed us through His Death on the Cross and His Resurrection. All three components of God, The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are necessary for our salvation and four our faith. The Father as the one who created us, the Son who died for us, and the Holy Ghost who breaths God’s love and truth and the Word into our hearts. All three elements of God are active in our ongoing salvation. It is an infinite loop of sorts. God the Father passes His Will to us through the Holy Spirit. The Son, Jesus Christ is our mediator and advocate before the Father. While we do not know exactly each of their functions, we do know all three work together and Jesus is our mediator and advocate to the Father and the Holy Ghost breathes God’s Knowledge into us and believing and acting on what God asks and by what we get from the Holy Ghost brings us to be of God.
Before we are of God, we are of this world. Our life is here, our end is here. However, once we are transformed via the Holy Ghost, then we are merely sojourners here; our life is not really here and certainly does not end here. We are merely passing through this world as a portal to our new unending life with God. The only way to be of God is through God, that is His Son, our Lord. I am the way, the truth, the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.(John 14:6) Jesus himself clearly says the only way to be of God is through Him. Nobody comes unto God but by Christ. What does that mean for those of other faiths? Nobody knows, but Christ, what provision – if any – He has made for those who chose not to follow Him here on earth for whatever reason. We do know He always means what He says and no one comes unto the Father (gets into heaven) except through Him. That is clear, beyond any misconstruing. He is the only way, so why not follow the proven way to God and salvation?
Feeding the multitude? Many speculated over the years as to just how He did it. The answer is simple; He did it. He did not talk about feeding the multitude and then sit down to His own meal. He acted and they were fed. The clear message of the story is action, and the whys and hows behind all of it does not matter as much as the simple message that He did it. It is all too easy to get wrapped around in fine details, when it is the bigger picture that matters. The clear moral of this story is that He acted, not just talked, but He actually acted and fed the people. That is a model we should follow; not just talk, but act as well. It serves as a template for our ministries here on Earth, to follow this plan of action and not just diction. Our love for God will be demonstrated through our actions, if we act for Him. Does this story recall the words from the Last Supper used in Holy Communion at the Consecration? “He took Bread; and when he had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body, which is given for you; Do this in remembrance of me.” Those few words produced The Word, which has satisfied so many over millenniums. It does not take a lot of words to satisfy us, but they have to be the right ones, which come from Our Lord.
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
9The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
In some respects, this is a key to the Bible. Regardless of our own self-centered thoughts, we are the same people since Adam and will be until the end of time. Thus he who writes the Romans just as well writes to us. We would like to think we are better, but we are not. We are the same. But, on the other hand, that is convenient for what worked for them will work for us.