Verse of the Day

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Circumcision of Christ - 1 January 2017

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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.  

Rev Jack
Today we recall the circumcision of our Lord and Savior.  He is God, yet He is under The Law. How can this be one might ask? If He is God could He just choose not to obey His Own Laws if He so desires? Not all those 613 laws were those called Moral, that is to say the Ten Commandments, but there are those which are moral and there are also laws of God or physics.   To answer the question posted earlier, God, the Ultimate Being, is subject to the laws He made.  

While He can, and does on the very special occasion, disregard them such as when the shadow went backwards, for the most part He, too, is subject to The Laws[1].  Why?  Because they were made for the general good of this world.  They establish the moral code we are to follow if we are to be good citizens of His Kingdom. We see what happens when people do not follow the Laws that God set out for us to live by. 

If we stop living by The Laws, then we are no better than the animals of this world, who live by no such Laws whatsoever. Then, there is no benefit, no reason, for us to follow Christ if we do not live by the laws He has set before us. That is the whole reason to have the Laws, to rein in our evil desires and make us a holy and wholesome people.  If we do not need to follow these laws, then how could we claim to be following Him? We follow Him because He is the embodiment of all that is good and pleasing, unlike the world, which seems to be the embodiment of pure evil and sickness.  They are revolted by God because as they are born of the darkness, and not having accepted His Son and His Grace, they cannot bear to look upon the brightness of God. Moses not being able to look upon God without a veil was also an allegory to this simple fact. If we remain in the darkness, we cannot bear to look upon Him, the Living Light. So we need to let the Holy Ghost enter into our hearts and allow us to bask in His Everlasting Glory and Light.

Evil and sin are diseases that must be cured by being regenerated through the Holy Ghost.  As a rule, God does not break His own Laws; in the very unique cases He does it is for an extremely good reason. This world needs a system of order so that things are done in an orderly manner and not confusion. Without a system of order, there is chaos.  God is not chaos; God never brings confusion. Chaos and Confusion is not of God, but of the Devil. 

God never tests, but when we are tested by this world, He monitors the results. He is very much like the proctors who monitored my online exams at WGU. He did not write our tests, however He is always watching to see how we perform in stressful and trying situations. He brought the new covenant or new agreement to us through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Knowing we cannot ever be perfect, He gave us a way to be accounted as perfect at the Judgment Day – One Sacrifice, Made One time, by One Man who was God, for All Mankind for All Time.  Jesus is our light and our life.  Through Him all things are possible.  

All salvation takes is the simple understanding of a child or a shepherd.  The simple truth that is Christ.  He is not complex.  His message is not sophisticated.  He is the way.  The One Way!

Paul’s Epistle tells us God has set Jesus at the top of the universe’s food chain, so to speak when he says at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, Lord, that is Lord of All.  And why? to the glory of God the Father.  For God created everything, yet of Him was Jesus begotton.  Jesus is the one that created the Earth, so it makes sense that He is at the top of the universes food chain. Recognizing this simple but very important fact fact, we need to do our best to put Him first in our hearts. We need the help of the Holy Ghost to put Jesus first, as Paul tells us, For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.  Notice the to will and to do.  We are not only to talk, but more importantly to walk.

When you read the rather straightforward accounting of the shepherds being told of the birth of Jesus and their trip into the village to see the newborn babe Luke gives, do wonder what they thought?  Here they have been told the King of Kings had just been born in Nazareth and when they come to town, they find a little baby, wrapped in rags, in an animal feeder.  Not a kingly sight, not even a common sight, but an almost pitiful sight.  A sophisticated and clever thinker might have doubted the angels and let those thoughts lead them further from The Truth.  Yet, in their simple acceptance of the angels’ tidings, they started the spread of The Word. They were truly the first Gentiles that were converted to followers of Christ. For us, this is the start of the lesson that our faith must be “as a child”, simple, not complex, not looking to count those angels dancing on the head of the pin, just knowing and believing that how ever many angels are required to dance on the head of the pin, so will the number be.

This is the first day of the New Calendar Year.  Remember also, it is the first day of the remainder of your life here on earth, let it count for something. The line of time stretches from the unknowable past to the unfathomable future.  Where the finger of God touches that line is The Present.  The Present.  The only place in which we can exist; we live in the present, the past will never come again and tomorrow never comes. We can only act in the present, the here and now.  Take the right path starting right now.

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] Yet, do not misapprehend, we know but little of His Laws and the laws of the universe as He made them.  Our grasp of the space time continuum is little beyond that possessed  by those at Moses time.  He is, was and always will be.  We live in the present, remember the past and prepare for what will be, the best we can.

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