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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 is partly contained in the forewords above.
Today we consider The Law and how it failed to solve the problems of the people it was designed to help and think about how getting around technicalities is different than doing what is right.
Consider the words of the Collect, “…give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command …”
The Collects often are repetitive, in that we pretty much ask the same thing week after week. Why is that? We have the same failings and frailty week after week. We are asking Him to make us want to follow Him that we might gain the prize which He has promised us. That prize is eternal life which begins when we accept it, not when we die. We need to realize this fact and adjust our lives accordingly. We have to shift our focus from the short term to the ultra long term (i.e, eternal) view of our actions. This will help us to become better spiritual stewards of the gifts which God has bestowed upon us.
We are praying for that increase of faith, hope and love, so we can maintain that course guidance. Just like Paul says, if we do not have these qualities in us, it is impossible for us to stay on course. And we do not obtain these qualities from ourselves, but from the Holy Ghost. We need to listen to Him in order to stay on course. Not just listen to what He says then go off and do what we want to do. He is our infallible navigation aid. He will never fail us. The problem lies more in us failing Him. But with His Help and Guidance we will succeed. To succeed, there must be change on our part, modification of our behavior to follow Him. It requires actual action. This is the constant of Christian living that is unavoidable.
Paul lists out the actions that are the works of those who are still under the influence of this world or the flesh, i.e fornication, heresies, strife, envying etc. If we are truly people of God, then we will not have those qualities and will do our best to quell them. Those are all qualities that make us worse human beings and draw us further away from God and not nearer to Him. Then he lists out the qualities of those who are of the spirit, long suffering, peacefulness, good faith, gentleness meekness etc. These are the qualities that if we let the Holy Ghost into our hearts we will heave.
It is only by having these qualities that we are able to follow God and do to His Will. Without the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we will be unable to have these qualities and have less happier lives. We have to make the effort to let the Holy Ghost in and shine his light in our hearts and drive out the bad qualities and let the good qualities in. The good qualities will not only help us to serve God, but make us a lot more pleasant human beings to be around.
These qualities will improve not just our spiritual but our physical lives immensely. The bad qualities can take a toll on our physical body not just our spiritual selves. The good qualities will do the opposite, will have a positive effect on our physical body and spiritual selves. It is in our best interest to do our best to follow God, and we will not only help Him by doing so, but helping our selves at the same time.
In order to perform action actions to serve Him, we need the Holy Ghost. However, the question is who will listen to the Holy Ghost? The only people who listen are those who are in need, hurt, pain and despair. Often it is because they, or one of their loved ones, are ill or injured, perhaps near death. Perhaps they are unemployed or undergoing some family upheaval. Their situation is less than perfect. They need help and they know it. In their own mind, they are the Samaritans of this world. It is no accident Jesus’ parables and stories center on actions, not words, thoughts and meditations. We need to retrain ourselves to ask for His Help before we are in need, pain or despair. The Holy Ghost can help us retrain ourselves, if we will but let Him in. Actions show who you truly are. Actions show the world who you follow, God or Mammon. You are not truly be a believer if you don’t act for Him. Without action, there is nothing. The key driving principle behind his parables are actions for Him, are those of goodness, not of evil. Those who believe on me keep my commandments.
Yet, those who turn to God in “need” are no different than each of us. To quote Paul, “None are perfect, all fall short.” We, each and every one of us, need God’s help. Perhaps some need it more, none need it less.
When Luke tells us of Jesus and the ten lepers whom He heals and only one expresses thanks, do you think he is only telling of lepers? It is a metaphor for us. All too often, when God assists us, we do not turn back to Him in thanks, but merely go on our way and credit ourselves for being so smart. One of the lessons is that when God helps us in our lives, we should always take the time to give thanks to Him who helped us and created us.
Through our Lord, God is there for each of us if we will accept His help. When He gives that help, how do we react? Frankly most of us just think it our due. We oft fail to give thanks for all that He gives us.
When we get an answer we don’t expect, do we thank Him? What if we get an answer? Do we thank Him?
Like the lepers only one in ten will show thanks for the mercy and help given them. Rarely do people give thanks for large efforts done to help them. We must endeavor to be grateful for Him and for all of those who strive hard to help us out in our times of need. In the case of the lepers, it was the Samaritan, showing that fancy dress and rules are not as important as doing what is right and being grateful for what we are given.
Are you part of that 10 percent?
Remember, it is Please and Thank You that are the magic words, not Please and I don’t have time for you.
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
 Samaritan - Of or pertaining to Samaria, in Palestine. -- n. A native or inhabitant of Samaria; also, the language of Samaria. [1913 Webster]
Samaritans were descendants of those who had stayed behind during the Captivity and had been separated for many years from the body of Judaism. They had not developed, nor did they subscribe to them, all the rules the Jews managed to invent during their separation. The main body of Jews viewed them as lesser peoples, not really Jews.