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Sunday, April 12, 2015
First Sunday after Easter
Sermon - Rev Jack Arnold
Church of the Faithful Centurion – Det One Okinawa, Japan
Rev Jack is in Okinawa for another few days, thus the Detachment One designation.
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
We are in the Easter Season which consists of Easter and the following four Sundays, until we get to Rogation Sunday. This is a time we should work on centering our lives on the central figure in our religion, Jesus Christ.
Consider these words from the Collect:
… Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification; Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth …
God sent Jesus to be The Christ, The Messiah, The Savior, The Lamb to be sacrificed for our sin. He gave His earthly Life, He went down into Hell, that we might be justified before God at our accounting. Not that we might be perfect, but that we might be accounted perfect at our judgment day. Yet we are not made perfect. Just because we are going to be accounted as perfect does not mean we are. Thus we must ask God’s help that we can put away the infection, or leaven, of evil in our hearts so that we can serve the Living God here. We must be unleavened bread or unsinful. This is truly a task that requires His Help. Without His Help, we cannot remove the hate and evil from our hearts. We need His Help so we can move forward.
Paul continually tells us we must be reborn as a new person in God. We must put on the New Man and put the Old Man behind us. We must endeavor to leave our old habits behind as we strive to make new practices into habits. The only way to do this is through His Help and repetition of those new practices. We cannot follow the direction of Jesus towards God without the help of the Holy Ghost; the Trinity in actual practice. If you believe in Jesus, you must believe in God and you can do neither without the help of the Holy Ghost. Without the Holy Ghost, we are like men who desperately need glasses to see. Without the Holy Ghost as our correcting lens, we cannot see what He wants us to see in order to act. With the Holy Ghost, we can see what needs to be done and also act upon it.
When Jesus came to the disciples on Sunday evening, He breathed the Holy Ghost into their hearts. He gave the disciples the power to pass His Forgiveness on to their followers. As ministers of God, we follow the disciples, but we have not the power to forgive, except as we find in the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We do have the ability to tell you that if you repent, that is “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life,” then God will forgive you. Through our Lord, if you repent, He has forgiven you.
The key word here is repent! We must “go and sin no more!” as Christ told the lady who was an adulterer. He did not tell her it was okay to do what she wanted to do, the way she wanted to do it and perhaps suggest a more flattering shade of lipstick. No, He told her that her sins were forgiven, but she was to “go and sin no more!” We repent not only in word, but we must repent in our deeds also, so that we can truly show the world that we have faith. If we do not repent, then we do not have faith in Him. We must have faith in Him, so therefore, we must truly and earnestly repent of our sins and do our utmost best to “go and sin no more.” That is how we can truly show that we have faith. That is all that He asks, is us to actually DO our best, not just say that we are doing our best.
So what to take from all this?
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. John 3.16
If you get that, you have the Holy Ghost in your heart. If you open your heart, He will breathe the breath that sends The Comforter to you. Then you shall have the knowledge to act the way He wants you to act. You will have surefire knowledge of the course that He wants you to take.
When the time comes, how will you ACT?
It is by our actions we are known.
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God