Verse of the Day

Sunday, April 3, 2022

The Fifth Sunday in Lent, commonly called Passion Sunday

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 brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 


Consider these words from the Collect:


… thy people; … by thy great goodness … may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul …


In the Collect, we acknowledge without God’s great goodness and divine intervention, we cannot be preserved in either body or soul.  This is a constant truth through ought the Bible, the New Testament in particular.  Without God’s great goodness we simply cannot be preserved. What does asking for God’s great goodness mean for us? It means when we ask we might be governed and thus preserved by His great goodness, we are in effect asking for His Guidance for us, so we can be preserved in both body and soul. We acknowledge God is the ultimate good and is the source of all truth, and we need His Help if we are to succeed. This concept is constant throughout all the collects. It is constant because it is the truth. We can only follow the narrow uphill path towards heaven with His Goodness and His Guidance.  As always, if we are left to our own devices and desires, we are lost.  Guided means we need to ask, then listen to what He Tells us, then actually follow those instructions.  


For those who are not perfect[1], following instructions can be hard at times but it must be done nevertheless. And I have found this holds true in all aspects of live not just our spiritual aspect. However, in all areas without His Guidance we are truly doomed. We must look to Him for Guidance if we want to have a sure chance of making it through the trials of this life and making it on the narrow uphill trail towards heaven.


Further to this thought, if we are looking to Him for guidance, we then need look to Him for safety.  Safety meaning only the safety of our soul, our eternal life. It does not mean safety from dangers to the body here on Earth. Our bodies are still able to be physically harmed, but our souls are safe from eternal damnation, that is what safety truly means. It also does not mean we are to put ourselves at risk recklessly, but it means we are to have confidence that if we die while doing actions for Him, we are ensured that our souls will be safe and headed towards heaven.


However in order to get into heaven one must be perfect. But as we all know as Saint Paul says, all fall short. So how do we get in then? Our only means of being accounted as perfect when we come before God is to rely on the sacrifice and intermediary priesthood of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ to account us as perfect before God on that final day. Christ has replaced the intermediary priesthood of the Jews with himself, our one and only High Intermediary Priest.  Your AOC ministers, while officially titled as priests, are not intermediary priests! The day of the intermediary priests have come and gone for us with the Old Testament in the past. We need only Christ, there are no middle men between us and Jesus.  He is our Savior, our Leader, our Teacher, our Master, our Example! 


Christ came to succeed the Old Covenant marked by sacrifices of innocent animals; killing off animals in an effort to atone for our sins really did not do the job.  It was a way to prepare people for Christ’s coming. They would not have understood His Message otherwise without it. Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection highlighted that His Ministry was all about action. If we truly are believers of Him, we will ACT upon His Word and not just say it. There is truth to the saying that action speak louder than words. 


In the Gospel, Jesus explained to the Pharisees before Abraham had even been conceived, He was. In fact, Jesus was the one who created this Earth, so He has been around since before the beginning of the planet. The Pharisees could or would not grasp in their heads Jesus was who He claimed to be, the Son of God. They chose to try to destroy His ministry rather than follow Him.  He was interfering with their comfortable way of living and deceiving the Jewish people. He was a threat to their system. They would not understand His Message, so they opted to try to destroy Him instead. Note the word try. Try as hard as they might, the Pharisees could not interfere with Jesus’s ultimate action for us, his Death and Resurrection upon the cross. Even with the truth of who He was laid bare in front of them, they still chose not to believe. Time and time again we see them confronted with the truth Jesus offers and they always choose to reject it rather than embrace the truth.


This is a very common pattern with God’s enemies. Their hearts have been blinded by their love of their selves, pride and greed. They cannot see the simple truths we see as followers of God. They look down upon us and think we are the ignorant ones, when reality is the other way around. 


They cannot, or will not, see that the priceless gift Jesus came to offer us. Jesus came to save our souls and give us eternal life, eternal life starting right then.  Not just for the Jews and Israel, but the whole wide world, Jew, Gentile, Greek and all others.  Jesus brought salvation and life to the entire world.  That was not what the Pharisees were looking so hard for with their magnifying glasses as they examined Torah and The Law.  They were looking for what would be only a temporary power, power on this physical plane. This pales in comparison to safety and happiness forever, for all eternity.  Pharisees were not big picture people, and as Calvin told Hobbes, We big picture people rarely become historians or Pharisees, I might add.   The Pharisees were very obviously not big picture people; they misinterpreted the prophecies of the Messiah. Regardless, even though some people chose to misunderstand the prophecies, He came and He made that one sacrifice, at one time, for all mankind, for all time. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life[2].


Who is Jesus?  Our Savior?  Indeed.  But, more He has been since before the beginning of the world, for He is One with I Am.


Through His Actions, we are saved.


Do ye likewise:




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

[1] All of us, that is.

[2] If the text of this sentence seems familiar, it is John 3.16, probably the most widely quoted text of the Bible.


1 comment:

Richard D. Swift said...

The best Sermon is posted right here!