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Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together because as is always the
The Sunday next before Advent
TIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
As is oft the case, today’s propers are all tied together. As is usual, they call for action not just thoughts. In fact, the collect is among the most direct, asking God to stir our hearts that we
Jeremiah prophesies the coming of Jesus out of the branch of David that He might unite God’s people as one under a New Covenant. Christ is the key piece to the puzzle of the Old Testament prophecies. He is the answer to all of the prophecies the Old Testament contains about our savior. John tells us Jesus comes to fill both our spiritual and physical hunger. Our spiritual hunger in that by His Coming, we will have the Word as our spiritual bread and drink. And our physical hunger by the fact if we follow what He says and do our best, we should have no problems getting food to eat. The collect is calling us to action, to perform good works to advance the cause of the Gospel.
The collect is asking us to allow God into our hearts so that we can go forth and do good works that the Good News might be spread. It is asking God to stir up our wills that we might go forth and do good works for Him and effect positive change for us and members of our community on Earth If we do that, the collect assures us that we will be rewarded very well. First we have to let Him int our hearts in order for Him to stir up our wil and incline us to perform the good works.m. Then through these actions we will truly get our just reward. Our wills are naturally inclined towards not following Him; we need to have our wills reset towards following Him.
We have to throw off our old man, to quote Saint Paul and to put on the new armor and helmet of the new man. We have to shed our old like a lizard sheds his skin and grow the new armor and helmet. Then We have to let the Holy Ghost into us and cleanse us of our old sinful selves. For without the Holy Ghost’s influence, we cannot truly be able to willing follow Him and act for Him on our own intuition. For our natural intuition is corrupt, by the disease of sin eating away at our very souls. Only the great doctor, God himself, can cure us of this otherwise incurable disease.
Nothing else in this world will satisfy us like God and the Word of God can. He is the answer to the missing hole in so many people’s hearts and lives. There is so much evidence of this missing hole in people’s lives today. Our broken society is a reflection of the missing gigantic God shaped hole. Yet nobody wishes to acknowledge or recognize this hole. The church sadly has been complicit in this by allowing the devil to enter into the church. No house divided against itself shall stand and sadly that is what is happening with the modern church. We have found that no art or work of mammon can come even close to the pure satisfaction following God provides. Yet because so many people have been blinded by Satan, they won’t see this. This is the only possible way we can truly be satisfied, everything else is a shadow of true happiness and satisfaction. God is the only way in which we can truly be happy, for everything else is worthless to our wellbeing, except for the joy of following Him.
If we follow our own heart and guidance, we will seek the things of this world and will be hopelessly lost. But if we follow God’s guidance then we will not be lost but will be on course and on path towards heaven. If we stumble off from time to time, we just have to recover and get back on the path towards heaven with the help of God and the Holy Ghost.
Events happening in this country today show that we are not truly capable of satisfying ourselves, only Jesus and the Holy Spirit can fill the hole. We cannot replace God with man as some liberal minded folk in this country are so apt to think. This is why we truly need the Holy Ghost acting in our hearts and cleansing us of these impure thoughts.
As we are nearing the beginning of Advent, let us think ahead to the joy of Christmas, the birth of Christ, His entry into this world, the joy of Epiphany, His revealing to the world. Then look ahead at the horror, pain and sadness of Good Friday. This lets us see the joy of eternal life He gave us, came at a very heavy price. Jesus gave His Own Life so we might have eternal happiness and not only that but he had to go down into hell and do battle with the devil.
The World is constantly changing things to suit its sinful desires. However, those of us who follow God do not change from the truth. This is why we will never be fully satisfied with things of this world, but we will be satisfied with what God provides for us.
He asks of us nothing special; but just to do our very best, not just say it. It is something I am striving to work on more and more every day. We must keep learning and following His Word. It is a hard concept for many of us to follow, including myself, but we must all strive more and more every day to do our very best. If we study Scriptures diligently and work hard to follow them to the best of our abilities, then we will, with the Holy Spirit’s help, be charted on an excellent course.
Interestingly, He tells the disciples to “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” It seems He is talking about the sheep that He tends to, He wishes to “gather up the fragments that remain”, meaning the people apart from His flock, that “nothing be lost”, meaning that their souls may not be lost for eternity. Think about that and take what it is offered before it is no longer on the menu! And be thankful for All His Blessings in our lives, for our friends and our family that He has placed in our lives.
We are blessed and should be grateful we are in a spiritually rich group (The Anglican Orthodox Church) and in communion with some very good men and women across the Earth in the AOC Worldwide Church, who hold true to the principles of Scripture. God has blessed us all by bringing us together. I am thankful for each and every person in the AOC Church and my family and friends. At Thanksgiving, we should be thankful most of all for God sending His Son to die for us, that we might have eternal life and happiness instead of the eternal misery that comes from the separation from God.
Actions speak louder than words, when we actually use that inspiration of the Holy Ghost and a couple well thought out words with actions, we can do many marvelous things in the lives of people around us, through His Spirit and Word and we will help to fill people’s spiritual hunger, through acting through His Word, in thought, word and deed.
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.