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Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
Consider these words from the Collect:
… that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity …
In the Collect, we acknowledge to God that if we have not charity, nothing we do is worth anything; we then ask Him to send the Holy Ghost into our hearts with the precious gift of charity. Webster tells us that Charity is love; universal benevolence; good will; the word which properly denotes love. What it really means is Love in Action! Like many areas of our Christian development, we will never fully get there. But if we never try to put Love into action, we will never even get close to getting there. The key words are in action. Meaning we just can’t think about loving people, we actually have to go out and do actions showing that we really do love them, not just say it. Without love in our hearts, anything we do is worth nothing as the collect points out. Giving oodles of money for recognition is not true charity, it is a sort of selfishness. Doing good with charity in our hearts should mean that we do not seek fame or fortune for helping others but to help others simply because it is the right thing to do. Not only that but charity is the driving principle behind Jesus’s Summary of the Law of Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
Charity is the purest form of love there is and derives from God’s love for us. Without God’s love in us, we cannot hope to have any form of charity towards our fellow humans. God has given us love to enable us to act on His behalf here on this Earth. Love is not selfish or wasteful, but kind and abundant. We are to be agents of good change, not bad; with Charity, we will act with love towards one another. With charity in our hearts we will be agents for change of good. These are qualities that are not naturally part of our sinful nature. This is why we need to have God’s help, to have that pure and unselfish love in our hearts. If we do not have love in our hearts towards one another, how can we expect to be able to effect positive change on the world around us?
In connection with the Collect which talks about one who is brought before God without love in his heart is a dead person. And not just in eternity but in life, a person with no love is a dead person walking. Paul makes this very point in his Epistle, saying that no matter what talents we have, without the Love of God in our hearts, it is all for naught. We cannot do anything for God without that Love in our hearts. We must have the Love in us, brought to us by the Holy Spirit, in order to be effective in our ministerial efforts. He is the reason we are here in this life and He is the one we must act for. It must be clear to us our understanding here on earth is limited, while here we will never see the fullness of God’s Plan; yet the part most clear is the love we are to have one for another, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, for no reason other than we know it is right so to do.
Having Love in our hearts is a must if we are to perform actions for Him here in this world. In order to have love in our hearts, we must be open to the Holy Spirit. Only then can we truly receive His Love to spread around. And do not fret, there is an unlimited supply of love for everyone. When Paul talks about God’s great plans, he uses the phraseology “through a glass, darkly”, which is very interesting inasmuch as CS Lewis uses a variation to describe earth as compared to heaven. He calls earth The Shadowlands and says in heaven all is clear and bright, not dark and muddled as here on earth. So, here our understanding is limited, it will not always be so. That will be fulfilled when we pass those Pearly Gates into heaven, and in order to do that, we have to have faith, and act in good works with charity.
As they were coming in to Jericho, Jesus told the disciples of what was to come, yet they could not grasp their leader would submit to such treatment on their behalf. He was the Conqueror; in a sense they were right, He came to conquer death for us, not the Roman Empire. He had the Love of God with Him and He loved us so much that He would die a painful method of execution and go into Satan’s realm in order to free us from the terrible wages of sin, that of death. As they went along, they encountered the blind man who was, like many of us are, blind. His blindness was of eye, not heart, he knew the power of God and of love. The blind man who wanted his sight and knew Jesus had The Power. He cried unto the Lord and was rebuffed by His People. This is the key and it applies to us as well. Did he give up? No, he cried the more. We are like the blind man in that our sin blinds from seeing what we could be with the help of the Holy Ghost. We must cry out for Jesus to enter into our hearts, souls and minds and lead a transformation of our minds to serve Him.
When Jesus heard him, he turned and asked what the man wanted. MY SIGHT! No generalizations, no beating about. The blind man asked of Him what he truly wanted. Ask and it shall be given unto you. He lacked sight, not vision. Nor, it might be added, did he lack faith. We should ask God to have to sight and hearing that we might see, hear and act upon the Word. To some, the faith he had might seem a blind faith, but it was one he acted on and gained what he lacked. Will we have the faith to act?
True love is Faith, Hope, Charity.
There is but one way to heaven.
That easy to find, easy to follow, easy to hike path does not lead to the summit where eternal life in the real world awaits. Open your heart to the Holy Ghost, use His Power to follow our Lord to God who awaits in heaven.
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 three Gloster Gladiator fighters Faith, Hope and Charity defended Malta against the Italian Air Force during the early part of the siege of Malta in World War II. Legend has it all three persisted and of the three, Charity never failed.
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