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Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
The Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity
LORD, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.
The Collect asks God to pardon our offences, that is our wrongs, failures and failures to act as we should, where we have “erred and stray from His Way like lost sheep”, through His great mercy. Note, through the mercy of God, not because we have been good, but because we cannot be good without Him in the form of the Holy Ghost. We are utterly incapable of goodness without the help of the Holy Ghost. We are sinful, prideful beings without His Help. But with His Help there is no end to the good that we can become. We have to recognize this and then consciously ask for the Holy Ghost to enter into our hearts and transform our hearts souls and minds. Without this transformation we are utterly lost. But with it, we become Paul’s New Man 2.0, an epic upgrade from our first revision.
In this world we will find that as far as sins go, truly there is nothing new. All the sins that will exist are present in this world and we aren’t making any new ones. The human heart is always as dark and depraved without the shining light of the Holy Spirit as it ever has been. This is why the world is full of the same problems as it always has. Humans are naturally resistant to any form of change, especially spiritual change. It has been this way since the time of Adam. People are always seeking ways to get around God and His Laws, but they truly cannot. Our only hope is to be in Him and be reborn in the Spirit. As Abraham Lincoln said in the famous Gettysburg address “That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” Only under God, can we be reborn a new, and as he said, our freedom will be reborn again. We can only be reborn in the spirit and not the flesh as Nicodemus found out when he came to Jesus by night. In order to be reborn a new in the spirit, we first have to ask for our sins to be pardoned and be delivered from our sins by Jesus Christ Our Lord and Our Heavenly Father. The key word is ask. This will never happen for us if we do not take the first step and ask God to enter into our hearts and regenerate our spirit. He will not come in uninvited into to our hearts. We have to allow the Holy Spirit access in order for our spirits to be revitalized.
And once we ask for our sins to be pardoned, we have to go forth and persevere in our efforts not to sin again. Only then can we be truly re-born. Through a sense of godliness, we obtain that “new birth” of freedom. If everybody in this country followed that simple advice, just think of how great our country would be. Look at Abraham Lincoln for an example of a Godly man, one of the greatest Presidents ever elected, who by following God and His Word, helped preserve the Union of this wonderful nation, albeit at a great cost to our freedom and with a huge expansion of government.
In the Epistle, Paul tells the Colossians if we are to be reborn through Christ into a “new birth of freedom”, as Lincoln said, we must place our hope not on Earth, but in Our Heavenly Father and his abode above. It is truly a place where nothing will be corrupted and thieves will not break through and steal. It is very safe to place our hopes in heaven in other words. So we must train our hearts, souls and minds to focus on this.
We shall encounter none of the imperfections we see here on Earth daily. It is truly a wonderful place to be. We must keep our sights on our destination of heaven. We have to always keep this in mind every time we are weighed down by the woes of the world and of troubles in our lives. We have to always keep flying our spiritual airplane no matter what happens in this life. If we put our goal as going to heaven and setting our airplane on the magenta line towards heaven, eventually we will get there. We may encounter severe turbulence from events in our lives that threaten to upset our spiritual state, but as long as we keep flying the spiritual airplane, all will be well in the end. Heaven is truly the only place where we can place any hope and not be disappointed. God will never fail us; we just need to not fail Him. We have to do our best to follow Him here on earth and do our best to spread to Word to the people around us. If we do this, the truth shall shine forth through in our work, at home, in our daily lives and people shall see Christ working through us for His purposes. If we follow what God asks, which is a very common theme in the Bible, as it is in my sermons, we prosper and do well.
Which brings us to the point of the Gospel, in which Christ heals a woman who has such supreme faith in Christ healing her, that if she but touches his cloak, she knows she will be healed. She did not have any doubts about Christ’s power to heal her. She truly had a solid faith. She depended not on the talisman of the cloak, but the power of Christ with which she expected to connect. She knew Christ had the power to heal her and believed He would heal her. Christ was impressed by the woman’s faith. If we had the faith of this woman in Christ, imagine how we could impact the world around us. There would be little we could not do for our fellow men and women. And, I might ask, what is stopping us? The ruler whose daughter had died also shared this amazing faith in Christ. He had zero doubt whatsoever Christ would do these things.
Also, the faithful centurion and the man whose son was sick had this tremendous faith. The faith of all of these, in particular the ruler whose daughter died was truly strong. Christ recognizes this man’s faith and rewards with the girl’s resurrection. Quite a surprise for those who had just laughed and scorned him, basically telling him “That is impossible, you can’t raise the girl from the dead.”
As always, Jesus proved the naysayers wrong.. He gave a very practical demonstration that much is denied men, but though God all things are possible. But, we need the faith of the woman, the faith of the ruler and the faith of the centurion. Jesus showed us that if we do indeed have the great faith of those people, there is not a lot that we cannot do. He is showing us that faith is a key corner stone to following Him. We must follow Him and the plan He laid out for us. We have to be willing to listen and be ready to follow Him. In time, we shall too have an amazing reward, through our faith and we shall be in a “new birth of freedom” from otherwise certain death. We can do things thought impossible, if we put our trust in Him, as I have aforementioned.
This is what Jesus meant when he said we could move mountains with our faith. If we put our trust and faith in Him, nothing that we need to do is impossible for us to achieve. We must keep listening to His Guidance and to do our best to follow Him. However, we must back up our faith with actions. If we truly have faith, then we will act and perform good works for Him. Without actions, our faith is meaningless.
Jesus’s miracles were all about actions, not just in word, but in deed. He did both, as we must also. If we only talk the talk, but do not walk our talk, then our words mean nothing. If we walk the walk also, our words have weight, meaning, as we become men and women of the Word. I say of the Word and not like the old saying, he is a man of his word. For we want to become a Man/Woman of His Word, not our word! If we go by His Word, we can never go wrong. We always seem to go on our word and that is where we get into trouble. It is action not just diction which counts. The two can go together, but in the end, actions speak louder than words.
Following this theme of words and action as Thursday was Veteran’s Day, I realized God has used godly men for our freedom to be kept, by laying down their lives for ours. No greater love could be found in the world, then those men who died in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, the Pacific and the European theatres of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, Desert 1 and 2, Afghanistan and countless dirty little wars where the freedom of our country and those of others was threatened. These men lived out their lives for their country in the form of actions. No greater love exists than the man who lays down his life for his friends, which so many of our fallen veterans have and in doing so have followed Christ’s actions in an exemplary manner. They showed us they not only talked the talk about serving but they walked the walk as well.
Through a sense of godliness, these men went to battle on our behalf, as Christ battled Satan on our behalf. These men did not just go into battle with the godliness, they prayed hard for them, they prayed for each minute just to stay alive, especially in the hellholes of the Pacific and the European theaters. The danger they faced were far more perilous than the ones we face today. We overcame the enemy, not only because of our superior tactics, but we had men ready and willing to take the enemy on and do our best to prevail, and who followed God.
The Collect, Epistle and Gospel tie together, laying out, detailing and reinforcing the same message, ultimately. We have to have faith in Christ and God, and be willing to accept the Holy Ghost into us, that through Him, we may do good works on Earth and that we will receive our just reward for doing what is right in the end.
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
 The American Civil War was fought not over slavery, but over States Rights. Make no mistake, the right being disputed at the time was slavery. Many will say the wrong side won, including the noted thinker Thomas Sowell. Slavery was an institution whose time was long passed, it did not serve anyone, master or slave. It was counter to the Word and should never have existed here. Truly it was an instrument of the Devil and was used to harm our country.