Sunday, August 2, 2020
Eighth 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, 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. The collect recognizes that on our own we could not find what is profitable for us and that we tend to stray towards those things that are hurtful for us. Therefore, we need God as our infalla]ible guide to steer us towards those things which will help us and not harm us.
Today’s Collect, Epistle and Gospel all come together with one theme. That theme is that if we listen to Him in word and in deed, 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. He talked about the wolves in sheep’s clothing. He talks about many that have hijacked the church of God and have turned it into a temple of thieves and followers of the Devil rather than soldiers and followers of Christ. This Gospel lets us know that unlike us, Jesus is not fooled by those who have deception in their hearts. Those false prophets might fool many but they will never fool God. Another reason for us to ask the Holy Ghost into our hearts that He might give us the wisdom to root out such false teachers in the Church. 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