Rev Jack's sermon is available 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 and talked, as is oft the case, of the need for action, not simply diction.
Consider the words of the Collect, “… Keep … thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and … keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation …”
When the Collect talks about the church, it is not talking about buildings; it is talking about us. The church is not a building, it is the army of believers following God. That is the church. Each of us; all of us. We need God’s Mercy and Grace to keep us from desiring those things that are bad for us and help us to see we really want those things that are good for us.
Speaking of things, just like the Jewish based Christians of Paul’s time, it often seems like everyone has secret rituals, handshakes or hoops they want you to jump through to be really IN. Paul reminds us that all fall short, and special fancy diets, days or outfits do not change us. We are all the same sinful human beings regardless of what special fancy days, diets our outfits we partake in. That does not change who we are. God does not require any sort of fancy diet, days or outfits to be IN with Him. In fact, they are rather counter productive to being IN with Him. They are just a distraction from following Him. All He asks is that we believe on Him and His Son Jesus and do our best to follow Him. None of these fancy rituals churches have are keys to salvation. They are not needed. For the action that led to our salvation was Jesus’s death and resurrection and has already happened one time for all time for all mankind.
Our salvation comes one way, through our Lord Jesus and by the Grace of God. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Nobody comes to the Father but by Him. He is our salvation. He is the living embodiment of the Word of God. His faith has saved us and made us whole, not our faith. But we need to act for Him to show that we have faith in Him The whole Gospel is based upon this. This is the solid foundation, as Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. We do not identify ourselves by men whose theology we like but by the only man who was perfect, Jesus Christ. And if we follow Him, we have the gift of life as St. Paul explains For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23 KJV)
The problem with folks who identify themselves as something other than Christian, is they lose sight of the simple principles of Scripture and become more like the Pharisees in finding loopholes to get around and they find themselves going down the wide smooth down hill path instead of the narrow sloping uphill path towards heaven. It is so easy to get lost in the ideas of the various theologians, that you forget that they were doing their best to be known as followers of Christ. Paul reminds us that we are to be followers of Christ and not followers of man. These people that identifiy as followers of various theologians often times forget they are supposed to be following Christ and not man. They have gotten themselves so wrapped up in the little things that they miss the sight of the big picture.
Paul points out that there are many who desire to make a show of following the law, not to follow the law but to somehow appear more righteous than you and that they do not truly want to suffer persecution for Christ.. He calls us as followers of Christ not to do that, but to follow Christ and His Gospel, the new way of thinking compared to the old ways of the Jews of old and the Mosaic Laws and also not to be afraid to suffer persecution in Jesus’s name.
As Paul said in a later epistle, there is not much glory if we are doing something wrong and get shamed for it. However, if we are following His Word and get shamed and slandered for it, there is a lot of glory there. God will make it so in the end, if we but stay true to the course, all of the persecution and bullying we face on Earth for following Him will be worth it. We will just have to remember this anytime we are encountering an unbeliever and being persecuted or slandered.
The last part of this reading is the one we often have the most trouble with. We are far too ready to borrow trouble from tomorrow. Every day, I pray at least twice for help with this. It is getting better; I am confident on one thoughtful level no good comes of worry, yet I have such a hard time acting on that thought. It is a very difficult thing not to worry, but it is something that needs to be done nonetheless. I find as I trust God more and act upon His will more, I worry less. There is a correlation there I believe. It is a very hard thing to do, but it must be done, to ensure our success in spreading the Gospel and being an effective minister of God. Plus, worrying less will provide other benefits as well, and help us to lead happier lives. When we do what God asks, doing our best and not just saying it, there is not a lot to worry about. Even if there is, we can relax, knowing God has everything under control and He will always give us guidance on how to proceed.
God wants you to be happy; He knows what will make you happy. God does not mind if you have fun along the way, but never pursue fun confusing it with happiness. In the end, you won’t find either.
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
 Mammon - a Chaldee or Syriac word meaning "wealth" or "riches" (Luke 16:9-11); also, by personification, the god of riches (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:9-11).
1: wealth regarded as an evil influence
2: (New Testament) a personification of wealth and avarice as an evil spirit.