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 never failest to help and govern those whom thou dost bring up in thy stedfast fear and love; Keep us, we beseech thee, under the protection of thy good providence, and make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy Name…
We must fully understand and acknowledge God will help and lead us, but only if we will look to Him for that help and leadership. The spiritually blind (us) cannot lead the blind (also us). We are spiritually blind without God’s help. We need His Help, in the form of the Holy Ghost, to direct our hearts, minds and souls to look to Him for that Help in our time of need. Thus, we continually ask God, through the offices of the Holy Ghost, to help us understand we actually need help and be open to accepting it. And we must note that to fear God is not to be scared of Him but to respect Him for who He is, our creator and heavenly Father, and loving Him involves loving the others around us with the Holy Ghost in our hearts.
Speaking of time of need; when do we need God? Pretty much whenever we are not perfect, which would be all the time.
The Epistle is a great illustration of why we need guidance from the Holy Ghost all the time. The world is not a nice place and at times it gets depressing to be in. John says we should not be surprised that the world hates us. For the World does not know of God and His Word so they fear that which they do not understand, namely the Word. And that God is the only one who can protect us spiritually from the assaults of the Satanic forces in this world. Through the Holy Ghost, He will give us that protection, we just have to let Him in. He will also cheer us up when we get depressed in this not nice place and give us spiritual comfort. Also we are called to love our fellow humans, regardless if they are believers or not. We are not called to lord our faith over them but to use our faith to help people. In other words, we are not to be Pharisees showing and boasting, but to good things to help people, with the help of the Holy Spirit. This is harder to do than to say, but it is something that must be done none the less.
We are to perform this task of loving people around us with great cheer. There is no true love without cheerfulness and a giving heart. In order to have God’s love, we have to love those around us. It is harder to put the actual love into practice. We have actually love those around us and not just say it. Like many principles of the Christian faith, it can be hard at times, but as long as we do our best do actually love those around us, then that is all God asks. We may be serious at times, but we can still be cheerful in that we have the love of God within our hearts and we can spread that to others. Don’t forget the little reminder from GK Chesterton:
The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.
A lot of times people put off church for other “more important” things, do you? They are like the people in the parable. Like the certain man who made a great supper, the Lord sets aside a time every week for us to worship with Him. Actually, His time is pretty flexible. The Lord’s worship can be done at times other than 1000 on Sunday morning if you really do have to work, you have weekend duty, you are on alert or something you really cannot get out of. The key element here is prioritization. If you really do believe Christ’s word and He is important to you then you will make that time out of your week to worship Him.
The Gospel is about more than just going to church, it is about prioritization. It calls us to put the things that are really important in the list of things to do above the things that are not really important. It all goes back to the want versus need issue. Two different words, often used interchangeably by people, but this is incorrect. We need to think about what is important to us and to God. Sometimes they are different. Then, we need the Holy Ghost to get our priorities in order. We need Him to overcome our natural inclinations to not prioritize correctly and get our priorities straightened out. Without His Help, we will never be able to see what is important in our lives, which is loving God and loving our neighbor as ourself.
People do what is important to them. When they feel guilty they come up with excuses, but in reality, they please themselves. This is a common reason why there are so few people in churches these days, besides the fact that the churches have by and large embraced heretical teachings, which puts the people off of going to churches.
So, what we need to do is ask the Holy Ghost for help to make God’s agenda ours; thus when we please God, we please ourselves. A win – win situation. And it will make us far happier people as a result, which is what God’s plan is for us all along
If we do not make time for God, how do we expect Him to make time for us? If we will not diligently study the lessons He has left for us, how can we expect to know what He wants us to do?
Do you recall more sage words from GK Chesterton?
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.
We need to come to church and read the Bible so we can find out what God wants. But, the idea is not to find out what He wants so we can work around it or live with it, but rather to live it. Once we find out what God wants for us, we need to live that reality He has planned for us, not the one that we want for ourselves. This means putting into practice in our day to day lives, wherever we may be, the principles of Scriptures. Think about the 613 Mosaic laws and the Pharisees who made a good living telling people how to comply with them to the letter and still do just as they wanted. There are many people who still do this to this very day sadly. In the end it will not get them to eternal life. However if we follow Jesus and God, we will not have to worry about our eternal future.
If we find out what God wants and decide to actually do it instead of avoid it, we are still faced with an often huge problem of where do we get the strength to accomplish this task. However, the answer is simple, it comes from God, the Holy Ghost. He never asks us to do anything we cannot do good enough for Him if we rely on Him. Never.
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