Verse of the Day

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Tenth Sunday after Trinity


Rev Jack's sermon can be viewed on video RIGHT HERE!

Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action

Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California

Today’s sermon tied the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together.


Consider the words from the Collect, wherein we ask God to make us … be open to the prayers of thy humble servants; and, that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please thee …


Once again, this Collect is kind of a restatement of many of the Collects.  First, we ask God to hear our prayers, funny in that He always listens intently to us when we pray and we very seldom listen to Him when He answers.  It is an odd paradox, He listens; we never seem to listen.  This is why the theme is constant through ought all of the Collects. It seems as if at times we should pray that we should listen; not Him, as He always listens! Nonetheless, we ask His help to ask for those things we need, not those things we want and are bad for us.  We need to be humble when we ask. 


What does that word mean?  


According to the dictionary, to be HUMBLE means to be:


·      Modest

·      Respectful

·      Lowly


Modest - unassuming in attitude and behavior

Respectful - feeling or showing respect and deference toward other people

Lowly - relatively low in rank and without pretensions


These are three characteristics we cannot possess in our imperfect state. We otherwise might be like the Pharisees who would make a show of praying in public to appear pious when they were anything but.  To avoid being like the Pharisees, we must recognize that when we ask for His Help that we must recognize the difference between our desires (our wants) and our needs and realize that they are not the same thing. What we need is what God wants for us, the things that will help us and not hurt us. We have to realize what God wants for us is far more important than the things that we selfishly want. Wanting is fine, as long as you are willing to work hard and do it and it is something that is not against God’s will for us. 


 Paul reminds us though each believer is different, be in in personality, size, shape or color, in Christ’s church those distinctions are nearly meaningless. In the Church we each have our own differing talents that we can use to further his mission on this Earth. If we do not care who gets the credit, then all will be well. For there is nothing the Church cannot accomplish if we unite through the Holy Ghost and work on furthering God’s cause here on Earth. Our Heavenly Father has given each of us unique talents to be used to further His Mission. Together, our talents can help us as the Body of Christ serve and glorify Him on Earth. 



If you will but read the Bible, what God wants you to do will be clear.  If you do your best to do His Will all will be well with you.  Death is a pretty hollow threat if you do your duty. If you have done your best, that is at the end of the day, you have done your best to follow Him, then truly you have nothing to fear. Contrast this with the people of Jerusalem. They could or would not see what God wanted for them or now for us.  In 70AD, what had been so hard earlier seemed pretty easy compared to the fix they were in, but by then it was too late.  By then they were left with only “There are none so poor as cannot purchase a noble death.”  But, for most of them by that time they had no will.  It left when they failed to follow God’s Will. 


The example of them is a good object lesson for us, to do what we can in the here and now and not worry about tomorrow.  We shouldn’t complain if it is too hard for us, because being on God’s side, nothing is too hard for us. There will be a lot of times where we just feel like giving up and that it is too hard. But keeping going is easier than if we just give up. We can’t change the past that is fixed and done, but we can change the future through our actions in the present. So let our actions be good ones, that help the Church on Earth and change the future in a positive manner.


When Luke wrote of the sales in the temple, he had a point.  The point was not to preclude jumble sales at church.  He is not against the sales. However, what He is against is the cheating in the name of God. You must understand the temple hawkers were selling perfect defective “sacrificial lambs” which would be recycled over and over[1].  In their very successful effort to make money they were defrauding the people and insulting God in His own House.


To paraphrase Christ, where their treasure is, there will their heart be also.  It should also be pointed out a church should be a place of worship.  It may be a Prophet Center, but not a Profit Center[2].  Similar sounding words, but a totally different meaning for the church.  If the building needs constant commercial enterprise, then perhaps the emphasis is on the wrong center. All of these churches that emphasize quantity over quality should be suspect. It does not matter the quantity, as long as you have a base of quality believers who serve the One Triune God. We need to be concerned more about the spreading of His Word, the constant truth, then focusing on how many people we can attract, and how the message can be changed to suit them. These are both problems with the modern churches today. A church should be funded for its needs by its members and its wants should come much later, if not in fact unheeded.  A church is about Him, not about IT.


Do what you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do it.  That is duty.  It does not matter how you “feel” about black or white.  Black is black; White is white.  Do your duty. Work as hard as you can, do the best you can, trust in the Lord.  By the way, cheat no one.  If you follow that, you won’t need to be told, “Particularly in God’s House.”


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

[1] The concept of being truthful in the efforts we make to spread The Word is not a separate subject by any means, but would take more time to talk about than we have time for here.  Suffice it to say that we must take every care to spread The Truth and not what our audience, whoever that may be, would like to hear.  When we bring our “sacrifice” to the “temple” we need make certain it is in fact as perfect as we can make it.  This is so hard that one of the recurring themes of the Collects is asking for guidance to ask for the right things.

[2] A term I first heard from Bishop Dennis Campbell in 2011.  It was a great thought then and a great thought now!

[1] A fine set of very apropos terms I first heard from Bishop Dennis Campbell in 2011.

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