Verse of the Day

Monday, September 20, 2021

Sixteenth 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 and talked, as is oft the case, of the need for action, not simply diction.

Consider the words of the Collect, “…let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; 
and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness …”


When the Collect talks about the church, just like last week, it is not talking about buildings; it is talking about us.   Each of us; all of us and together.  We need Gods help (pity) to keep the group of us together following His Will, for without His Help (Holy Ghost) we are doomed to utter failure.  We can see this in the church today. The collect says we need His pity to cleanse our church of error and keep it on the straight and narrow. For without the cleansing effect of His pity and help of the Holy Ghost, error creeps in and corrupts the Church. 


We can see this today with many churches leaving the established doctrine of 2 millennia to try to be cool and attract more people. Their efforts are in vein as we are called to be separated from this world and not a part of it, to be holy. They are becoming un-holy and it shows in their more paganistic doctrines. You can barely distinguish some of these churches doctrines from what more worldly or other religions believe and they can hardly be considered a Christian church. God is about quality of believers and not about quantity! These churches covet quantity over quality and are willing do compromise on non comprisable beliefs in order to do so. They gain the world but they lose their souls to do so. It does not sound like a good trade off to me.


The problem for many people is Heaven is at the end of a hard and narrow uphill trail; the easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.  That seemingly easy way leads to The Pit. This easy downhill trail snares a lot of people and there will be sadly some that never realize this. It can ensare anybody so we have to be on our guard lest we start down that path ourselves. This proves the truth of this collect, that without His help, we are doomed. With His help, we are set for success for evermore.  He offers; do we accept?


Saint Paul points out if we will open our hearts to God, He will send the Holy Ghost to fill our hearts with Love, Courage, Inspiration, Tenacity and Confidence, all of the good traits that will help our character development. Once the Holy Ghost enters into us, we will know the full dimensions of Christ, the height, width and depth of His love for us, and this fullness will fill us to our content, and we will want to spread that Good News and Love of Him to others.  Without the Holy Ghost, we are doomed. But with the Holy Ghost acting in us, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish for Him. We have to recognize this and make the decision to allow Him into our hearts.


Allowing His love for us to enter into our hearts is part of the Good News. The Good News is that He died for us so we might have eternal life, a happier life here and a happier life after our life here.  But the key is we have to first open our hearts to God. We cannot have any of these positive characteristics if we do not allow Him in. We have to be humble and realize we cannot get through life without these characteristics, which means we cannot have a good and successful life without His Help. 


He offers all of these things for our benefit, so we will be successful for Him. We have to accept this offer by opening our hearts to Him.  One of my favorite cartoon strips Calvin and Hobbes, oft has great moral lessons.   Calvins dad so very often reminds Calvin that doing ones duty in the face of adversity builds character.  It also strengths the soul building trust in God.  If we will open our hearts to Him, our ears will hear the command “… Arise.  When we rise, we rise with the confidence of immortals and can conquer any obstacle. We will have died in our old sinful ways and be resurrected like our Lord in a new spirit and a new birth of everlasting freedom. But, without an open heart, our ears will never hear the command directed to our soul, “… Arise.  We will be dead to eternity. There are none so deaf as those who will not hear. 


All Jesus asks is that we follow Him.  That is all follow Him.  But, words mean something; the word follow is very important.  We have to trust God is like a perfect CFI[1] and if we follow his instructions at the right time, we will keep ourselves from physical and spiritual harm. Like the CFI he is here to keep us from mentally and spiritually harming ourselves. If we will listen to His instructions, we will keep our mental and spiritual selves intact and be a lot happier for it. 


We need recognize who has the ability, the power, the perfection in leadership and have that trust to say, "You lead; I'll follow." I believe that is what Jesus expects from us in regard to our entire life. We may get out of position or even go lost wingman on the odd occasion, but he expects us to Our very best to follow His lead and stay in position.  Hard to do if your eye is not padlocked on Him.


As ministers of our Lord, we have a similar responsibility to those who would follow us here on earth.  And we have to work even harder, for created by a perfect God, we are imperfect creatures with free will.  A problematic combination.  We have to strive to do better than most as we are in a position where people will be watching our actions more carefully than other people. We must strive for a correct attitude, heading, stability and predictability in our path so we can be followed towards that final destination marking a successful mission. We must always be checking our navigational instruments of the Holy Scriptures and our navigator, the Holy Ghost, to ensure we are on the right heading. We have to be willing to act for Him to show that we truly do have faith and not just say that we have faith. It is a lot easier to say than do, that is for sure.  


When Saint Luke relates the story of the Widow of Nain, it is more than just a simple miracle.  


In those days, a widow with only one son had little, a widow with no son was in deep trouble.  Jesus took compassion on her and also took the opportunity to make His power evident.  He came to the bier, and touched it saying, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.”  The young man arose and began to speak; whereupon Jesus brought him to his mother.  Not surprisingly, news of this event was spread “forth throughout all Judæa, and throughout all the region round about.”  Like the young man, we are dead to eternity until we hear the command “… Arise.”  If we hear and act on that command, we have eternal life, just like the young man, it starts right then! Eternal life doesn't start when you take your last breath, it starts when you take your first breath! Think through your life like it will be eternity and plan your actions accordingly.


Also, please take note Jesus ACTED.  He did not just tell the widow He was sorry, so very sorry; He actually did what He could to help her.  He can do more than we can, but we can do more than we do and we can certainly do more than just talk.  Words are very nice, but do not mean a whole lot unless they are backed by actions.


If we truly have faith, then we must follow Jesuss example and live our life like He lived His, with action! We must have good actions that will follow with that faith. If we only speak with our lips and do not have good actions, then we do not have any faith. However, if we do truly have faith, then we will speak the right things and do the right things.


Action, not diction, is what counts in the end.


Heaven is at the end of a hard and narrow 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] Certified Flight Instructor

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