The Propers for today are found on Page 197-198, with the Collect first:
The Sixth Sunday after Trinity.
GOD, who hast prepared for those who love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
As is oft the case, the Collect asks for help from the Holy Ghost to enter into our hearts that we might love God and, thus obtain His most excellent Gifts. As imperfect creatures with free will, if we ask God for something, it tends to be what we want, not what we need. He knows. Thus, we need His Help in the form of the Holy Ghost.
The Epistle came from Paul’s letter to the Romans, beginning at the First Verse of the Sixth Chapter. Paul tells us that as we were baptized unto Jesus in life, so we are baptized unto his death. We share His death on the Cross for our sins and by His death, our sin is dead; then as He was raised up, so are we. It is intended the death we die unto sin is to be permanent and that we go forth and sin no more. Yet, as long as we live here on earth, we sin. Yet, as long as we live in Christ, we live. Thus, we reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
NOW ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Today’s Holy Gospel started in the Fifth Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, beginning at the Twentieth Verse. Jesus tells his disciples, Except your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Very worrisome indeed! Scribes and Pharisees spent their entire lives acting the epitome of righteousness. There is no way mere mortals could exceed their righteousness, or so it would seem. Jesus goes on to tell us that not only would we not go to heaven if we commit murder, but we are in danger of the same judgment of we are angry without just cause. If that were not worrisome enough, we are in danger of hell-fire if we call one another a fool! Let not the night fall on discord with your family and friends, your neighbors in the Christian sense of The Word. The text following asks us to do our best to follow Jesus and in return, his sacrifice will serve to set aside the just judgment and we shall be accounted as righteous before God.
ESUS said unto his disciples, Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt do no murder; and whosoever murdereth shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Rev Jack’s sermon can be viewed on video RIGHT HERE!
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
Consider these words from the Collect, … who hast prepared for those who love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire …
We acknowledge God will give those who love Him more good than they can imagine, let alone ask for. But, first you have to love Him. How do we accomplish this? We do it by asking the Holy Ghost to enter in to our hearts so we might truly love Him. If we do, more good will come to us than we can even imagine or hope for. The point of the collect is that we cannot fathom how much goodness will happen to us, if we follow Him. God will give us more goodness than we could possibly ever deserve if we will follow Him. And this goodness is far more precious than anything the world could ever give us. With His Infinite Grace and Love, God has the potential for unlimited amounts of Goodness. But the key word here is Love. And where we do we get that love from? We are back to the Holy Ghost. He is a key element of love, without Him we cannot even love Him. If we cannot love others we have seen, how can we love Him who we have not seen? He gives us far more love than we can possibly deserve.
Who is the other component in this equation? Jesus! Jesus is that missing variable in our complicated equation state. He is the X. He can give us his guidance and grace via the Holy Ghost, to make us better men and women of the Lord. He will help us to utilize the Holy Ghost to love God the Father. He is who we need to gain eternal life. By His Sacrifice, made one time, for all mankind, for all time, we are accounted as perfect by His Faith and Action.
This is a rather stark contrast with our rather usual shortsighted short term view, we must think in the terms of the big picture, not the tiny speck in the picture. We are not used to thinking in the long term view. Think of going through life to get to Heaven as like flying an airplane. Flying an airplane requires constant adjustments and as you can imagine everytime you fly you learn something. That concept carries over into general day to day life. Every day we learn something be it big or small. What matters is that we learn from what we did wrong and not just what we did right. We endeavor to repeat what we did right and not repeat what we did wrong. This is a continuous process that will occur the rest of our lives. Some of our days may be harder than others, but as long as we never give up, trust in God and carry on, all will be well with our souls. This may be hard to accomplish sometimes, but if we let the Holy Ghost into our hearts, we will find that there is no limit to what we can accomplish for Him.
Like flying an airplane, lots of little tiny fluid adjustments are required in our lives here on Earth. Some will be easier than others of course. And we will fail from time to time as that is just our human nature. We have to get back up and be ready to start again and not the same mistake again that caused us to fail. When acting, think of how your actions will impact you, your family and others down the road, before acting and make the necessary fixes, if any are needed. The Holy Ghost can provide the inspiration and guidance we need to think through our actions. We just need to listen to Him at the moment when we need to act and remind ourselves that our future will be better if we listen to the Holy Ghost rather than ourselves.
We have to think of ourselves as a part of God’s much bigger plan, and act to the best of our abilities and with the guidance of the Holy Ghost as a positive aspect of that larger picture. Each of us has a role to play in His Plan. And each of us has an important part to play in His Plan. We do not know the whole details of that plan, but God will give us our part of His Plan if we but listen to what He has to say. We just have to focus on doing our part for Him in His Plan. And the key word here is to listen. We have to listen to what He actually says and not what we want Him to say. There is a distinct difference between the two.
In today’s Epistle, Paul says as Jesus Christ died and rose again, so too should we die to our sins and rise again in a better state. He uses this metaphor to describe both our life here on earth as previously we had been living in our corrupt natural state and through the renewal of the mind through the Holy Ghost, we are transformed into something more pure than we had been.
And as he says, as death has no dominion over Jesus Christ, so too shall it have no more dominion over us. For by His death and resurrection, He has paid the wages for our sin, which as Paul says in Romans is death. His death paid for our sins, so we might be accounted as perfect to get into heaven. Paul is telling us about that same accounting irregularity we mentioned earlier and Christ is that accounting irregularity. As we of our own volition cannot resolve the accounting issue, and thus cannot be worthy on our own to get into heaven.
The resurrection truly is the greatest miracle Jesus performed. Because before He came and died for our sins, we could not get into heaven on our own and in fact still cannot. It is by God’s Grace, that He sent His only begotten son, that we should not perish, but have everlasting life. I find myself still amazed every time I think of it. How we poor sinful creatures who could not make it to heaven on our own, have had our wages of sin paid by our Lord’s death upon the Cross. Think of how much Jesus loved us, He willingly let Him self be arrested, tried and put to the painful death upon the Cross, and then went into Hell to battle Satan for our souls, because He loved us. It must have been hard for Him to do those things, but He did it anyway. That is a lesson for us, even if things are hard sometimes, we must do them anyway regardless of the cost or spiritual pain if God commands us to do those things. In the end, all the suffering we endure on this Earth will be worth it with all the goodness that awaits us in Heaven.
The lesson of the Gospel is that we must put aside our often foolish and angry thoughts and not act upon them, but rather have Christly thoughts and act upon those. We can’t advance God’s cause here on Earth if we are angry all the time. We have to be able to think and make rational decisions and we can’t do that if we are angry. This is another concept easier said than done. But if we allow the Holy Ghost to enter into our hearts, we will find that we have the spiritual strength to accomplish this. Instead of acting irrationally, we must instead think calmly and figure out the best way to handle whatever situation we are in without losing control of our emotions. How do we do this? The clear solution is to pray to God and ask for His Help in bridling our tongue and have it be a tool of reason rather than a tool of anger and deceit! And to also remember this every time we are in a moment of heated emotion.
When Jesus gave His Life for us, He did it knowing we would fail to follow in perfection, but fully aware some would follow to the best of their ability. We must get back up after we make our mistakes and continue on trying the best we can to follow Him. That is all He asks, do your best. Even Saint Paul had trouble following our Lord, but he kept trying and doing his real best not to make the same mistake again. Doing your best is not the same as saying you are doing your best.
There are none so deaf as those who will not hear.
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