Verse of the Day

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity


Rev Jack's sermon is available on video RIGHT HERE.


Sermon - Rev Jack Arnold

Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California

Todays sermon tied the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and talked, as is oft the case, of the need for action, not simply diction.


Consider these words from the Collect:


… Grant … thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind …


We ask God to pardon our sins so we might serve Him with peace of mind and do His Work without having to worry about our fate.  It is good to have a clear mind when you go into battle, to be free of worry that you might do your best. You do not want a foggy mind while performing an action that requires your best concentration, so that is what we are asking from Him. To give us clarity of mind that we might do what is right. 


We need His pardon and peace to cleanse us from our sins, to enable us to have a mind that is quiet and focused on doing His will. It is a difficult thing to quiet our minds at times, but it must be done, so we can focus on doing our best from Him. His pardon and peace will help us clear our minds from worrying thoughts and distressed thoughts, if we will but let Him in. His pardon and peace is a perfect pardon and peace, He only asks that we go forth in the world and spread His Word, which will give the perfect pardon and peace to all that accept it.


When we mention peace, it is a very different concept from what people in this world think of it.  The peace God gives us is the calmness and stability in our soul when the world is crumbling around or even on us. It is the surety that no matter what happens this life, as long as we do what God asks, our souls will be safe in the next life. This will give us a calm of mind that the world is incapable of giving as they do not know the peace of God and the Holy Spirit.


It is that peace of mind and soul that comes from knowing when we die, we will be with God and Jesus and enjoying eternity with them. It helps us to know this is only a transitory phase. This is only temporary way point on our way to heaven.  And if we let it, this peace will take the place of worry.  This is something those of us who tend to worry need to remember. You can then concentrate on what you can do and not be concerned with what you cannot do; for if you cannot really do it, it is pointless to concern yourself.  That is the whole point of peace, having it will give you calmness and rational thinking to do what you need to do for Him. The peace gives you the confidence to perform actions, even in difficult and very trying circumstances. Once again, action, not diction, is paramount.


Not everyone will accept it though, even though all should accept the offered gift, it does not mean they will.  And those that do accept may not accept right away. It may take time for the seed of the Holy Ghost to germinate and bear fruit in the hearts of some of the more worldly people. As our fallen nature attests, we are not instantly transformed into a different person overnight, but rather thorough many days, weeks and years of practicing Christian beliefs, through reading Scripture and being around other believers. The transformation happens in a gradual process, that continues all of our lives. With some of the non-believers we encounter in our live this might occur, the seed we plant may germinate in time to bring them to Christ.


Paul gives his clearest definition of the spiritual war between the forces of Satan and those who would follow God. It not only assures us that there is a spiritual war, but it warns us that apart from utilizing the weapons which God has provided for us, we are hopelessly underpowered. This passage tells us what our divine weapons are. Beyond this, these weapons imply the nature of the struggle which we are in. The weapons God provides are those weapons which best repel the attacks of Satan and if we know how to best utilize them, we will be well ahead of the game in fighting the tricks of Satan.


Now, what to do? We are clearly commanded to take an offensive role, to go where the battle is. We are not called to be at the rear, but on the front lines, in this spiritual battle.  With the help of the Holy Ghost, we should be using our tongues boldly as St. Paul says, to spread the Gospel. In order to accomplish this we must boldly preach the truth of the Gospel through ought the world and not worry ourselves with what the world will think. For what the world will think is not as important as what God thinks. And by the word bold, we are not to put a holier than thou air and talk down, nor are we to cruelly shout down the opposition, but with confidence in our voice, we will not allow ourselves to be intimidated by the enemy. We will do our actions and say the truth with clarity and confidence. That is what it means to preach the Word boldly.


The Word spreads “by word of mouth” and by action.  It does not spread by mouth alone! There needs to be work backing up those good words. Your mouth, your actions!


Speaking of actions, Winston Churchill said, “Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”[1]


Churchill was not the first. God wants us to persist.  Consider the case of the nobleman of Capernaum.  The man asked Jesus for help for his son.  Jesus did not immediately grant the request as He needed the man to persist to make a point for those around him.  He responded as he often did to Jews, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.  The man persisted and because Jesus saw faith in him, he said, focusing his attention on faith in God, Go thy way; thy son liveth or "Be on your way. Your son is alive." In other words: "Do not worry.  My Word will heal your son no matter the distance." The boy was healed in the very instant when Jesus spoke the Word. The father believed this Word.  So did his household, wife, children and servants. More than one person was healed on that occasion.


This miracle shares characteristics with the previous healing of the Centurion’s son:


  • Jesus has just come back to Galilee.
  • Someone comes to him with a request.
  • Indirectly Jesus seems to refuse at first.
  • The person persists.
  • Jesus grants the request.
  • This leads another group of people (his disciples, the nobleman’s household) to believe in him.


Note the necessity of trusting in Jesus as the giver of life.  Jesus led this nobleman from a "miracle" faith to a true faith in His Word. He does this to us also, but only if we will let Him into our hearts and guide us there. 


"Be on your way. Your son lives." This Word of Jesus was not only a prophecy. It had the power to heal the sick boy. And this Word took the nobleman's worries away. As it will take ours away if we will let it. 


As we see in the Gospel, persistence is a very important part of the Christian life, it helps build our character in bad times, and also in good as well. Persistence is what fuels us in our day to day physical and spiritual lives. The more we open ourselves up to Him, the more persistent we will become as we embody more and more of His characteristics. Persistence will help us greatly in our character development and will help strengthen us spiritually.


Consider also that God, through our Lord, offers forgiveness.  Forgiveness lets you restart your life, regain your foothold, strengthen your soul.  If you accept the forgiveness and go forward you can do great things. If you will not, and likewise you will not forgive, you will be bound by the prince of this world and doomed to failure.  You will never attain the greatness of which you are capable with God’s grace and help.


Do what is right, I would say no matter if there is no one looking; but He is always looking.  It is not that hard.  Believe, take His help, act on the belief you profess, never ever give up.  


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?


The time to act is NOW.  Will you act?  For whom will you act?  Will you count the cost before you act?


Action, not diction, is what counts.  It is by your actions you are known.


Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

[1] Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School

1 comment:

Anglican Orthox Church Int'l said...

Excellent sermon - one which the world cannot abide - and THAT is what gives it divine approbation. It is a comfort and a peace to realize that it is not the world, but the Lord Himself, whom we must obey, follow and worship.